Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
GERMAN envoy to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Thorsten Hutter, has heaped praise on the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa saying the Head of State and Government has created an environment that has resulted in increased investor appetite from his country.
Ambassador Hutter made the remarks while officiating at a workshop held to review the impact that has been made on local companies following a corporation Memorandum of Understanding signed between a German volunteer organisation, Senior Experten Service (SES) and ZimTrade. SES has a database of over 13 000 retired business executives who are, however, still active and seek to impart their expertise to emerging enterprises and signed a MOU with ZimTrade in November 2017.
Relations between Europe’s largest economy and Zimbabwe plunged at the turn of the millennium culminating in the imposition of sanctions on the later by the European Union where German is a key member. But since his assumption of the highest office in November 2017, President Mnangagwa has embarked on a diplomatic whirlwind meant to return Zimbabwe to the family of nations in a bid to kick-start the economy.
The European Union and several of its member states have of late been warming up to Zimbabwe and the German envoy’s sentiments are the latest sign of the success of the country’s re-engagement drive.
“In November 2017 and afterwards, it became clear that your new President wanted to do things differently,” said Ambassador Hutter. “We have already heard him talking about the new dispensation and about Zimbabwe being open for business and all that implies for a fresh mind-set, it implies that political and economic reforms are to be talked about, discussed, deliberated and implemented. Not for any outsiders’ sake, not for our sake but for Zimbabwe’s sake.
“Because of the new mind-set, because of the fresh approach by the (Zimbabwe) Government, there has been a change of attitude also on the side of my Government and of companies . . . there have been meetings, a lot more exchanges, a lot more visits with German companies, with German delegations than ever before.
“We have had the visits of two business delegations and there is one more coming in four weeks’ time, we had three delegations from our Ministry of Economic Corporation and Development as well as two visits by the Africa Director of the German Foreign Ministry.
“So there is clearly, clear interest among German companies and the German Government to engage, to re-engage and work with you (Zimbabwe),” he said.
The ambassador also thanked ZimTrade for making sure that Zimbabwean Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) benefit for the SES MOU that has to date seen 43 expert missions visiting Zimbabwe with a lot more expected this year.
The ambassador also noted that going forward, the two countries need to be honest with each other and address areas that have previously caused hostilities.
Zimbabwe, he said also need to take note that there is competition to attract capital and thus must continue working to beat the competition.
“I also want to thank you, Allan Majuru (ZimTrade CEO) and ZimTrade for your dedication to, as was said, see to it that the MOU that was signed in November 2017 doesn’t gather dust. This is one MOU that works and I am very happy about that,” said the Ambassador.
Speaking at the same event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador James Manzou, urged Zimbabwean companies to take advantage of such corporations.
Such corporations, Ambassador Manzou said, are also in line with Government’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which seeks to revive the economy through enhancing industrial productivity.
“The capacity building programme is well in line with the thrust of Government under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme to enhance industrial productivity and increase value-added exports by at least 10 percent annually,” said Ambassador Manzou.
“I wish to encourage companies in various sectors of our economy to enroll for these capacity building programmes to improve on their capabilities,” he said.