Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
MEMBERS of Westminster Africa Business Group are interested in exploring opportunities to do business in Zimbabwe in areas such as health, education, construction and energy, Group Chairman Mr Laurence Robertson said yesterday , a Conservative MP from the UK.
He spoke after meeting a Zimbabwean delegation visiting the UK led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Frederick Shava, and the Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, in London.
The thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and Britain and the resulting growth in trade could give fresh impetus to Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement.
Zimbabwe’s differences with key international blocs like the European Union are largely the result of its differences with the United Kingdom.
Under the Second Republic, Britain and Zimbabwe signed an Economic Partnership Agreement as relations between the two countries appear to be improving, following President Mnangagwa’s mantra of being everyone’s friend and enemy belongs to nobody.
Speaking to the media after meeting the Zimbabwean delegation, Mr Robertson said the engagement was incremental and the business group he chairs, which was formed to bring together businesses and politicians seeking to improve relations between Britain and Africa, was eager to send a team to Zimbabwe. on a feasibility study.
“The meeting discussed business opportunities in Zimbabwe to see the kind of things they offer. A wide variety of facilities and services they offer. We had a discussion about what we can do to help.
“We had a discussion about politics in Zimbabwe. (We are) very happy to meet them,” he said.
“We are approaching the new era, where we have to rebuild the relationship. Certainly in the UK we are very keen to do this; in Zimbabwe they will be keen to do so. It’s about improving people’s standard of living.
“There is still a long way to go, but we are progressing very well. So much can be achieved through trade, so much can be improved through trade.
Mr Robertson said UK businesses were interested in areas such as education, health, energy and construction, among others.
“We have a number of businesses that we would like to visit in Zimbabwe and increase trade, and give Zimbabweans the opportunity to improve themselves.”
Ambassador Shava spoke to the group about what the Second Republic was doing, including its quest to follow the reform agenda.
“My government, without any budgetary support from agencies like the IMF, the World Bank or the African Development Bank, has embarked on sweeping political, electoral and economic reforms aimed at creating a stable political and macroeconomic environment. and inclusive for all Zimbabweans”.
Regarding political and legislative reforms, Ambassador Shava said that the Second Republic had accelerated the alignment of legislation with the Constitution at an unprecedented pace.
Since 2015, 149 of the 183 existing laws that need to be aligned with the Constitution have been aligned and of the 19 new laws that need to be enacted by the Constitution, 15 have since been passed by Parliament.
Regarding the financial sector, Ambassador Shava said in September 2018 that the government had launched the Transitional Stabilization Program (TSP), an ambitious two-year program anchored on broad economic and other reforms, designed to stabilize the economy and lay a solid foundation for sustained economic growth thereafter.
“The program focused on stabilizing the macroeconomy and the financial sector; introducing the policy and institutional reforms needed to transform it into a private sector-led economy driving economic growth,” he said.
Then, as planned in the PST, the Government launched the National Development Strategy 1 (SND1) 2021-2025 in November 2021.
“The NDS1 succeeds the TSP and is the first 5-year medium-term plan to achieve the country’s Vision 2030.
“The strategy is poised to build on the successes achieved by the TSP and address its challenges, particularly unfinished efforts in the area of macroeconomic stability and growth,” Ambassador Shava said.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and successive droughts, among other economic shocks, the government has put in place numerous initiatives to bring macroeconomic stability. These include macroeconomic policies anchored on strong political support, fiscal consolidation, price stability and the establishment of a favorable fiscal environment.
A cautious macroeconomic climate has fostered a predictable business environment.