By Felex Share
Reforms being undertaken by President Mnangagwa’s Government have put the country on a path to prosperity, newly-accredited United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols said yesterday.
This comes as Austria’s new envoy Mr Johann Brieger said credible elections were on the cards in Zimbabwe, as the democratic space had been opened up by the new administration.
The envoys made the remarks after presenting their credentials to President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday.
Also to present his credentials was Mr Eric Saizonou, who becomes Benin’s first Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
Mr Nichols said he was glad to be in Zimbabwe at a historic moment.
“I think the future of Zimbabwe is bright,” he said.
“The process of democratisation and reforms that are ongoing put Zimbabwe on the path to prosperity.”
“The meeting we had (with President Mnangagwa) was positive and I believe if the reforms that have been announced and are ongoing continue, then our relationship will grow stronger by the day,” Mr Nichols said.
“We are committed to improving the relationship bilaterally and internationally. This is a country that has a great history and tradition and one that should be a leader in the region.
“It should be an economic powerhouse. I know there is a great deal of interest in our private sector in Zimbabwe and a great deal of interest in the democratic reforms that are ongoing and elections that will soon take place.”
Asked what the recent meeting between the Zimbabwean Government and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) officials meant, he said: “The most important step is progress in economic and democratic reforms, the security that investors require to put their money here.
“That is something that depends not on anyone in Government, but individual investors and they are most committed to that. We will see that in the future.”
OPIC is the US government’s development finance institution.
Mr Brieger of Austria said the July 30 election preparations were going on without incidences.
“The preparations for the upcoming elections are well underway and we are closely looking at that,” he said. “The preparations so far have gone well. We see that there is room that everybody can express themselves.
“This is something we hope to continue throughout the election day so that we have free, fair and transparent elections. I am sure it will go well. This is what we are all looking forward to and we begin our re-engagement the day after elections.”
“It is a rich country with a lot to offer and we have strong links in tourism, expertise in the agricultural sector and great companies in the health sector,” he said. “Whatever comes, we are ready to take up.”
Mr Saizonou said Benin wanted to forge bilateral relations with Zimbabwe.
“We have discussed with the Head of State (possible) areas of cooperation that Benin wants to have mainly political and diplomatic issues within international organisations like African Union and United Nations. But in the field of economic cooperation we need to do something, that is why I was appointed here so that we explore some areas where we can start something in the coming few months together.
“Zimbabwe has a very good reputation in agriculture and tourism. We are trying to have the same through reforms in our country. So, we would like to have some experience from Zimbabwe and to share the projects that we are conducting in our country. It shall be a starting point.”