Zimbabwe is edging closer to rejoining the Commonwealth as the bloc warms up to the Second Republic’s re-engagement and engagement drive with President Mnangagwa using his visit to the United Kingdom to attend the coronation of King Charles III, to engage the Commonwealth along with the British Government, businesspeople and others.
Mnangagwa returned home yesterday and was received at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Zanu-PF Vice-President and Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi, Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, service chiefs and other senior Government officials.
Mnangagwa said during his engagements with both the Commonwealth and the British government, he saw positive signals.
“We were able to meet the British Minister of African Affairs and Development (Andrew Mitchell). We had a very long chat and the indications are that there is a spirit of co-operation developing between Harare and London, which we will continue to pursue,” he said.
In London, the President also took time to engage with the Commonwealth and from the meetings he had with the bloc’s Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland and Commonwealth chairperson Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Zimbabwe is on the cusp of re-joining the group as part of its pillar foreign policy of engagement and re-engagement.
“Last night (Saturday) I had a meeting with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth (Lady Scotland). There was a Commonwealth meeting, which was held because most of the members of the Commonwealth had come for the coronation, so they met as Commonwealth.
“Thereafter I met with the Secretary-General to discuss issues about our application. I also met the Chairman of the Commonwealth President Paul Kagame; the indications are that so far, the signals are positive,” he said.
Last year, a Commonwealth delegation led by the organisation’s Assistant Secretary-General, Professor Luis Franceschi, visited Zimbabwe and acknowledged that Harare had made progress in laying the desired foundation for re-admittance into the association mainly made up of former British colonies.
Under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe is vigorously engaging and re-engaging all nations, and tremendous progress has been made on that, as shown by the warm welcome the President got from British royalty between Friday and Saturday.
“We were invited as a country to attend the coronation of King Charles III and we accepted. We were over 100 Heads of State from Africa, some monarchies from European countries and of course Latin America.
“On the first day, they gave a reception with Heads of State; it was an opportunity to interact with the British monarchy. On the second day it was actually the coronation at the Westminster Abbey, it went very smoothly,” said the President.
Thus, Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement efforts continue to bear fruit as evidenced by among other things, the invitation to the United Kingdom for the first time in over two decades, the partial removal of illegal sanctions by the European Union, development assistance by the European Development Fund, and the invitation of Harare for the first time to the US-Africa summit last year, among others.
In London, Mnangagwa also took time to market Zimbabwe to businesspeople who expressed interest to invest in Zimbabwe.
At a meeting with investors, the President outlined the vast opportunities in sectors of the economy such as mining, infrastructure development, agriculture and ICT.
In an interview after meeting with the business community, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube, who was accompanying the President, said there is huge appetite to invest in Zimbabwe by both British investors and Zimbabweans living in the diaspora.
“His Excellency was able to lead us into a discussion with investors here in the UK. The investors come from a variety of sectors; mining, agro-processing technology sector, financial services and infrastructure, right across the board, it was really pleasing to see this spread of investors.
“His Excellency, with his team, which included myself, were able to explain to investors the various opportunities that Zimbabwe offers across the sectors and also the incentives that are available to investors. His Excellency was able to make it known that indeed Zimbabwe is open for business, from wherever they come and that investors from the UK are indeed welcome to Zimbabwe and we notice that they are keen to invest in Zimbabwe and this is really pleasing,” said Prof Ncube.
Mnangagwa was also accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador Frederick Shava, Deputy Chief Secretary Mr George Charamba, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana.