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Relations between London and Harare continue to thaw

Story by Josephine Mugiyo, Diplomatic Correspondent

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has met with a visiting delegation of British business people as relations between the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe continue to thaw after a two decade stand-off.

During the meeting, President Mnangagwa stressed the need for the two countries to exert efforts on what unites them and not what divides them.

For over 20 years, relations between London and Harare had been frosty following Zimbabwe’s implementation of the Land Reform Programme.

The coming on board of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa saw an extensive engagement and re-engagement drive being put in place with countries across the globe.

In a great sign of thawing relations between Zimbabwe and Britain, President Mnangagwa was invited to the coronation of King Charles III.

Cde Mnangagwa accepted the invite and used the visit to meet with British business people and he extended an invite to them to come and invest in Zimbabwe.

A few months down the line, a group of 19 business people is in the country and has been meeting with various government departments.

This Tuesday, the delegation met with President Mnangagwa at State House and the discussions centered on the prospects of increasing business cooperation between the UK and Zimbabwe.

“I want, from the onset, to acknowledge the warm and cordial Zimbabwe – UK relations which are progressively improving by the day. The sustained re-engagement between our countries will allow entities from our respective jurisdictions to explore and take up the abundant opportunities for shares prosperity and the benefit of our people,” said the President.

While speaking about how the land reform project affected relations, the head of state said it is now time to move forward.

“Over the years, since my administration came to office, consultations have been undertaken with high level ministers of state for Africa notably Rory Stewart. These revealed that while Zimbabwe and the UK are geographically thousands of miles apart. Our intricately linked history cannot be wished away. Hence it is critically important in my view to exert our efforts on what unites us as opposed to matters that divide us,” he added.

A number of business people who include Zimbabweans living in the UK are upbeat on the business opportunities in the country and are eager to play their part in building Zimbabwe’s economy.

“I hope we can return to do business, we’re particularly interested in lithium and gold,” noted UK delegate, Mr Agly Cluff.

Another delagate, Mr Daniel Robson said, “We believe there are a lot of resources in Zimbabwe that can be used. We are coming after the calls of the President to invest.”

Zimbabwe-born Mr Tafadzwa Chikoto, who is the Mayor of the Corby in the UK, rallied Zimbabweans in the diaspora to take heed of the call to do business in the country.

“When the President came in May, he met a few selected people and we asked for a chance to invest and true to his word through the ambassador we are now here.”

Zimbabwe is open for investors in various areas which include mining, agriculture and tourism.

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