9 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Germany Wades Into Save Conservancy Saga

He told reporters in Harare yesterday that Zimbabwe government had used its so-called "wildlife-based land reform" to violate a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) it has with Germany.

Gnodtke warned that failure to abide by international agreements could seriously undermine foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

"FDI inflows depend on 'how serious a government is willing to respect international agreements'. If a country is not serious about respecting international agreements, it will not attract investments," he said.

Last year, the Save Valley Conservancy turned into a hotly contested spot that spawned a public spat between Enviro-nment and Wildlife Management Minister Francis Nhema and Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi. This was after ZANU-PF bigwigs had moved into the park, destabilising existing investors and triggering rampant poaching.

Reports of the planned translocation of the animals to Mozambique had also courted the ire of communities in Masvingo.

"This is utter nonsense," Gnodtke told reporters in reference to the reports.

"This is polemic; I don't want to get to that level of polemic. German has been approached by an organisation called Peace Parks Foundation in South Africa, which has suggested that we have an over population in certain species there and there is under population of the same species in Gonarezhou hence it will be better to translocate some species to Gonarezhou; we are considering to do something about it. German investors were invited by ZANU-PF. The President (Robert Mugabe) was in Germany asking investors to invest in Zimbabwe. We have a BIPPA is that in place," he said, adding that the government had agreed to the relocation of animals.

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