Zim open to investment

Statement by His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Comrade R.G. Mugabe at the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa, on the topic, “Eye on Fragile States”, Durban, South Africa, May 4th, 2017

EXCELLENCIES, Heads of State and Government here present, distinguished panellists and delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I would like to extend my profound gratitude and appreciation to the Government and people of South Africa for the generous hospitality accorded to me and my delegation, since our arrival in this beautiful city of Durban.

My delegation would have wished to understand the rationale behind the categorisation of the so-called fragile states, which exercise I understand was done by some NGO, called Fund for Peace.

The NGO developed about 11 categories within which to place countries and nations.

Most African countries are thus classified as “either alert”, “high alert”, or “very high alert”.

Zimbabwe is placed in the high alert category, together with other countries in situations of conflict.

What we find puzzling and objectionable is the philosophy behind such categorisation.

Before 2000, Zimbabwe would most probably have enjoyed a pride of place in the hierarchy of nations. But after we embarked on a radical land reform programme, we quite predictably, became a candidate for profiling.

My country was subsequently slapped with illegal sanctions under which it has laboured for well over a decade-and-a-half now.

We are strongly concerned about this application of unilateral economic sanctions as a foreign policy tool to achieve regime change.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we all know, the highest challenge for natural stability comes from the baneful legacies of racial inequalities.

In southern Africa, this takes the obvious form of skewed access to land, itself a principal basis for state fragility.

However, attempts to rectify this injustice, draw the anger of our erstwhile colonisers, who do not waste time in drawing up damning reclassifications, such as the so-called “junk status”, as in the case of our host nation, South Africa.

In Zimbabwe, we now have the land, itself the basis of long-term stability.

Under our Command Agriculture Programme, our economy, historically agro-driven, is set for sustained recovery in spite of the debilitating sanctions and ravages of climate change which have made us vulnerable to droughts.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Through its economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) launched in 2013, Zimbabwe seeks to provide, simultaneously, an enabling investment climate, a growing economy, employment, social transformation, and empowered society.

Although we have scored some successes in some respects, for example in education, we remain hamstrung in others, such as in reducing unemployment.

We continue to push for the leveraging of our diverse and abundant resources through beneficiation and value-addition of our minerals.

We remain committed to upholding of the fundamental rights and freedoms as defined in our constitution, and as always derive our mandate to govern democratic elections.

Our governance structures are very stable, and security is very much assured.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

While it is claimed that the fragile states index is aimed at pointing to potential threats of conflict, we see this as a serious drawback to our efforts to build our economies.

First we have to explain away these characterisations before we can start showcasing the wonderful opportunities such as those that exist in my country.

Besides, this wholesale characterisation, does not seem to appreciate efforts deployed towards resolving conflicts.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

Let me assure you that Zimbabwe is a very secure country that is open to investment, at any level of the economy.

We have been putting in place a very vibrant and attractive environment for private sector investment which is hinged on infrastructure development, stabilising the financial sector, modernising labour laws, fighting corruption, and implementing economic zones to provide impetus for foreign direct investment.

In conclusion, let me emphasise that stability, peace and security in the global villages depend upon the availability of the necessary political will to create an environment that promotes that peace and security for all, and one that aims to eradicate poverty from the face of the earth.

I thank you.

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