President Mnangagwa is set to address the 73rd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly — the world’s biggest international gathering of political leaders — for the first time as the President of Zimbabwe on Wednesday this week.
The President has used the pre-UNGA address period as an opportunity to re-engage all and sundry as his administration goes into overdrive to revive the country’s economy that has been severely knocked by years of international isolation under American sanctions.
Clearly conscious of the fact that the sanctions have brought the economy to its knees, President Mnangagwa took with him a lean, but powerful delegation that essentially has one minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube of Finance and Economic Development, and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya. The delegation has the requisite depth of character to re-engage on all fronts.
To show his seriousness in building the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa and his delegation went a few days early to New York and have been working round the clock to engage potential investors and funders, including addressing a highly-subscribed investment forum.
The Zimbabwe Investors’ Forum was organised by private equity firm, Exotix USA, on Friday and was a hive of activity for the Zimbabwean delegation.
This is serious business and re-engagement.
Suffice to say even the organisers of the investment forum were surprised by the overwhelming attendance.
Outside the business forum, the Zimbabwean delegation has been busy with other engagements with powerful individuals and institutions.
This signifies a radical change of approach to Government business. Instead of arranging a separate trip to New York specifically to address investment issues, President Mnangagwa decided to cut costs and kill two birds with one stone.
The United States is a huge source market for business, investment and tourism, but these have been frustrated by frosty relations between various US administrations and Zimbabwe since the turn of the millennium.
In the past a cocktail of travel bans, travel warnings and sanctions have barred US companies and citizens from seeking business opportunities in Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa has emphasised that it is time to engage and re-engage all countries of goodwill and to put the economy ahead of politics of negativity.
Top of his agenda is to turn Zimbabwe into a middle income economy by 2030 through increased local and foreign investment, accelerated industrialisation and employment creation.
The President has thus used his time in New York not only to engage businesspeople, but also various media outlets to help clear the air about a lot of propaganda concerning the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe, including the July 30 election.
Instead of going to America with a single agenda item at the UN high table, the President decided to use the taxpayers’ money prudently on serious engagements with potential investors.
On Friday, President Mnangagwa fielded many questions at the investors’ forum in New York which allowed him to clear a lot of misconceptions and perceptions on Zimbabwe.
It is a refreshingly different approach to doing Government business.