By Abigail Mawonde
Australian companies have expressed interest in investing in Zimbabwe following opportunities that were ushered in by the new political dispensation. This was said by the outgoing Australian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Suzannne McCourt at a reception to mark Australia’s National Day and to bid her farewell following the end of her tenure in Harare on Friday. She also said Australia was willing to help Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth.
“Zimbabwe right now has an opportunity for change. We hear voices from highest level of Government that there is desired turn around the deeply troubled economy.
“The Government knows that re-engagement with countries like Australia will greatly assist this recovery. Earlier this month, I met His Excellency, the President and we both expressed a commitment to work to improve our relations,” said Ambassador McCourt.
She said from discussions she had with President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe and Australia want to increase trade and investment. “I know there is interest from Australian companies, mining companies and others who are attracted by the abundant potential of Zimbabwe. “Following the events in November, our trade promotion authority — Austrade, told me that they have received numerous enquiries.
“But potential is a word that I feel I have used too often during my posting. I would like to see this potential turned into reality,” said Ambassador McCourt. She said on the economic front there certainly have been positive messages from Government on improve business climate.
“This week’s (last week) visit to Davos will have given the President a strong sense of what investors are looking for: security and certainty of investment, strong rule of law, transparent policies and practices, and intolerance of corruption,” said Ambassador McCourt.
She said private investment only flows where it feels secure and where companies can make a profit. Ambassador McCourt said elections this year will be a significant marker for investors and the international community on Government’s commitment to the Constitution.
“I applaud the President’s public commitment to deliver free and fair elections. If that happens, it will go a long way to build confidence that Zimbabwe’s new Government means what it says and that Zimbabwe indeed is moving in a different direction,” she said.
Added Ambassador McCourt: “One means by which we could help is assisting Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth, should commit to the key principles of democracy and good governance as required of all those seeking to join or rejoin.
“There are many benefits to being a member of the Commonwealth, including cooperation across many areas of government and society — Australia will be hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April.”