Sweden is willing to re-engage Zimbabwe and improve bilateral relations between the two countries, an official said on Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Annika Soder, who landed in Harare on Wednesday, paid a courtesy call on Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices.
She was accompanied by Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Lars Ronnas. Speaking to the media after a closed door meeting, Ms Soder said it was important for Zimbabwe and Sweden to revive the once cordial relations.
“Zimbabwe and Sweden have had relations for a long time before the independence of Zimbabwe,” she said.
“Now we are here to re-engage and to discuss all the issues that we have in common. We are following very closely the developments in Zimbabwe when it comes to economic reforms, constitutional reforms. So those are the topics that we discussed with the Vice President.”
Ms Soder said Zimbabwe and Sweden had common history, as such they would learn from each other. She said in the meeting with VP Mnangagwa they also discussed a number of economic interests between the two countries.
“We discussed, of course, the importance of economic programmes and discussed also the importance, from the Zimbabwean perspective of having business partners from Europe and from Sweden in particular, so we discussed the processes for that.
“Our strongest area is information communication technology, mining and equipment for industry. Of course, we are also very interested in startups. They say Sweden is the second best Startups city in the world after Silicon Valley. So we will have some exchanges on how to do the startups likely in the ICT sector,” she said.
Sweden, by virtue of being a member of the European Union, imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 after the country embarked on the land redistribution exercise that saw hundreds of thousands of indigenous Zimbabweans benefiting.
However, several diplomats from that country have called for the removal of the embargo saying Stockholm did not have a bilateral grudge with Harare.