Felex Share Senior Reporter
Newly-appointed ambassadors of Switzerland, Uganda and Guyana yesterday presented their credentials to President Mnangagwa at State House and pledged to strengthen existing bilateral relations between their countries and Zimbabwe.
Mr Niculin Jäger (Switzerland), Mrs Barbra Oundo (Uganda) and Dr Cyril Hunte all said the relations should be skewed in favour of economics. First to present his credentials was Mr Jäger, who said Swiss investment in Zimbabwe would increase in the coming years.
“I was very honoured to be received by the President only five days after I arrived in Zimbabwe to directly present my credentials,” he said.
“Our relations are excellent. We are a long standing partner, we recognise Zimbabwe right away from independence and our relations have been maintained throughout the years and I think they are going to be strengthened in the near future. One of the major focus would be the economic field.
“The President and myself we are looking forward to enhancing Swiss investments in Zimbabwe and at the same time we are also engaging with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as well as our regional cooperation and developmental office which recently moved to Harare from Pretoria.”
A Swiss firm, Nestle Zimbabwe, has invested close to $30 million in the past six years for the refurbishment and upgrading of its cereals and Milo plants, among some of the major local projects.
Mrs Oundo said relations between Zimbabwe and Uganda were “strong and flourishing”.
“This is what we were reminding ourselves about and the need to strengthen economic relations between the two countries,” she said. “We now have to move from the political diplomacy. It’s for the good our people that we move from political diplomacy to commercial diplomacy to ensure that our people prosper economically. This is what is important for our future generations.”
Mrs Ounda, who is based in South Africa, said they are working towards establishing a mission in Zimbabwe.
Dr Hunte said Guyana had been closely associating with Zimbabwe since the 1970s.
“We were involved with the initial struggle for your independence here and during that time we trained quite a lot of Zimbabweans,” he said. “We are looking forward to building trade opportunities in areas such as tourism. People to people exchanges are also vital as they allow us to grow closely together.”
On Zimbabwe re-joining the Commonwealth, Dr Hunte said the South American nation was behind the move.
“We know that is something the Government of Zimbabwe will take a look at again,” he said.
“The Commonwealth is a large family. There are various countries that have common set of values that we all cherish. We know that at the right time that matter will be resolved.”
He said while he would be based in South Africa, distance should not be a barrier to development.
“Distance must not separate us,” Dr Hunte said. “We must work together and new technology has allowed the world to shrink and we can talk every day and resolve issues without much difficulty.”