Zimbabwe: Switzerland Hails ED

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
23 February 2018

President Mnangagwa's promises on economic development and governance issues will bring prosperity to Zimbabwe if they are followed through, outgoing Switzerland Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Ruth Huber has said.

She said investors are likely flock to Zimbabwe following President Mnangagwa's policy clarifications at the 28th World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.

Ms Huber made the remarks after bidding farewell to the Head of State and Government at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday.

President Mnangagwa's trajectory on governance and economic issues, she said, was "welcoming".

"I was happy it was possible that His Excellency, President Mnangagwa, could meet the President of Switzerland (Alain Berset) in Davos and specifically discussed our bilateral relations and their development," Ms Huber said.

"As our President said in that meeting, the economic development of Zimbabwe goes hand-in-hand with good governance. These areas are all important. So I have to say the messages we are receiving from President Mnangagwa in all these areas, with focus on economic development and also governance areas, granting free, fair, credible and transparent elections, are very positive and welcoming messages."

President Mnangagwa used the platform in Davos to brief world leaders and investors about amendments to the Indigenisation and Empowernment Act.

He also made a pitch for investors to consider making investments in mining, tourism and manufacturing.

This, Ms Huber said, will see investors flooding the country.

"It is difficult to mention specific follow-ups (after Davos meeting) now, but I am convinced that the meetings in Davos with high-level people from other governments and the international private sector were a very important platform for Zimbabwe. It raises interests of international investors and more delegations will be coming to Zimbabwe."

Ms Huber, who left the country last night, said she will promote Zimbabwe "as a country with great potential".

"I will promote Zimbabwe as a tourist destination," she said.

"I travelled a lot myself in the country and there is great touristic potential and will promote Zimbabwe as a country with great potential due to the high skills level of the people, and also the willingness of people to improve and develop. That will be good basis for investors to come."

She said it was important for Zimbabwe to resolve sticking issues with countries whose investments were covered under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs).

"It is important to resolve issues of the past; show that the rule of law is granted," she said.

"Switzerland and Zimbabwe do have a valid BIPPA and there are still those issues on farmers who lost their land during the land reform programme. Compensation is still an open issue, but we are in very good conversation with Government over this. The solution of this will be a very important signal to any future investors to come to the country."

A Swiss firm, Nestle Zimbabwe, has invested close to $30 million in the past six years for the refurbishment and upgrading of its cereals and Milo plants, among some of the major local projects.

In his meeting with President Berset, President Mnangagwa suggested that Switzerland could use Zimbabwe as a dairy products distribution hub, the same way Nestle has done with New Zealand.

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