By Reuters, Independent Media and ANA
The European Union is ready to review ties with Zimbabwe and support the country’s re-engagement with international financial institutions once the new government presents clear plans for political and economic reform, the EU’s embassy in Harare said.
That could include providing election monitors when Zimbabweans vote later this year for the first time since former president Robert Mugabe resigned following a de facto military coup in November after nearly four decades in power.
The embassy said in a statement that the EU Council had agreed at a meeting in Brussels that the elections were an essential step in mending relations.
“The EU will support the authorities in establishing as soon as possible a constructive re-engagement with international financial institutions based on a clear and time-bound economic and political reform programme,” the statement said.
“The EU stands ready to review the whole range of its policies towards Zimbabwe at any moment to take into account the progress achieved in the country.”
The southern African nation became a pariah under Mugabe when it defaulted on its foreign debt in 1999 and was slapped with Western sanctions over alleged vote rigging and the violent seizure of white-owned farms.
New president Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, has promised to repair ties with the West, repay Zimbabwe’s foreign debt, compensate white farmers and open up the resource-rich country to overseas investors.
The EU has since 2009 gradually lifted sanctions on senior ruling party and military figures and state-owned firms but kept a financial and travel embargo on Mugabe and his wife Grace.
Since imposing the sanctions, the EU has shunned the government, and restricted its funding to charities only.
The 28-member bloc said this week it would welcome an invitation to monitor the election later this year if Zimbabwe invited it to do so, the embassy statement said.
Mnangagwa has won some support as analysts say he appears to be a hard worker, compared to his predecessor, Robert Mugabe
Meanwhile WEF has welcomed Zimbabwe’s new leader, President Mnangagwa to Davos – the first such visit by the leader of the country in many years.
As all economic eyes across the world focus on the yearly Davos gathering of global leaders and business leaders, Mnangagwa and his Zimbabwean delegation are looking forward to putting the country back on the map.
Mnangagwa has been on a crusade to reassure and draw international capital back into the country, words that he repeated to youth investors and fund managers before he left Harare ahead of the Davos meeting.
Mnangagwa has joined South African deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the global economic forum, and has won some support as analysts says he appears to be a hard worker compared to his predecessor, Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa said he was going to Davos with a view to inter-acting and selling Zimbabwe, which was once again open for business and investment.
The new Zimbabwean leader arrives at the office at 8am in the morning, and burns the midnight oil. Ministers in his cabinet say he is very demanding in terms of results delivery, but it remains to be seen if this will translate into meaningful economic recovery and an improvement in livelihoods for Zimbabweans.
Treasury officials said the government was looking to reform its parastatals, but progress appears to be lagging. Mnangagwa is aware of this and has pleaded for time in this process, after he was accused of stalling.
“We need to realise that there is no need to rush decisions in the area of reforming parastatals. We must have dialogue and make a decision. Some of the parastatals we will abolish, some we will capitalise and some we will privatise,” Mnangagwa said.
Apart from this and other concerns such as selective targeting of officials for corruption arrests, Mnangagwa appears well informed ahead of his first international meeting with global leaders and fund holders at Davos.
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