Long road for Zimbabwe - UK rapprochement

Long road for Zimbabwe - UK rapprochement
Published: 07 December 2017 (424 Views)
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa's government faces a herculean task to restore economic and political relations between Zimbabwe and its erstwhile coloniser, the United Kingdom.

Trade relations between the two countries are at an all-time low.

In the 10 months to October this year Zimbabwe imported goods worth $100 million from the UK and exported products valued at a paltry $1,175 million to the former world super power, according to figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency.

For a country that imports more than 50 percent of its food and spent about $625 billion in imports last year alone, Zimbabwe is barely scratching the surface on what it can gain by increasing trade with the UK.

The two countries enjoyed cordial relations in the two decades after Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, but things came to a head at the turn of the millennium when the southern African country embarked on a controversial land reform programme to address colonial land imbalances.

The UK - together with the European Union - suspended direct financial aid to Zimbabwe citing human rights abuses by former president Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF-led government.

Several British companies such as Tesco, BP and Shell and Waitrose, among others, stopped trading with Zimbabwe - sparking a diplomatic tiff between London and Harare.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has, however, hinted that his country was ready to offer support to Zimbabwe's new government as long as Mnangagwa lives up to his promises of crucial socio-economic reforms.

"Recent events in Zimbabwe offer a moment of hope for the country and its people. This is a time to look to the future and to make clear that Britain shares the common vision of a prosperous, peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe," he said. Nonetheless, market watchers said the southern African country has to prove itself before trade with Britain starts to grow again.

"If Zimbabwe had kept pace with African average growth since 1998, it would produce three times its current output," economic analyst Francis Mukora opined.

"To realise its potential government needs to do more to improve the business environment. Investors are keen to support empowerment, but need assurances that their assets are secure, and that profits can be repatriated," he said, adding that the promised clarification of the indigenisation policy is welcome and if handled properly it could help attract investment.

Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, said Zimbabwe's decision to engage the UK to be readmitted to the Commonwealth, as the new government attempts to burnish its international reputation, was a step in the right direction.

"It doesn't involve them in any real commitments except agreeing to the principles of the Commonwealth. For a lot of States, it's a kitemark of respectability," he said.

Commonwealth membership brings both economic and political support.

For example, the Commonwealth secretariat assists member States with election monitoring, and there are immigration privileges to the UK.

Zimbabwe hopes that the membership would open the way to more trade and investment, especially loans.

Commonwealth countries - most but not all of which were once British colonies ­- each have an equal say at the heads of government meetings, which takes place every two to three years.

The 52 Commonwealth States would all have to endorse an application for Zimbabwe to be readmitted. Three other members have re-entered in the past three decades- Pakistan in 1989, South Africa in 1994 and Fiji in 1997.

- fingaz

Tags: UK, Zimbabwe, Relations,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

'Zimbabwe polls were meant to start new era'

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 53 Views

Police 'cooked up documents used to drag Biti from Zambia

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 48 Views

'Punish Zimbabwe's rogue soldiers'

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 44 Views

Tshinga Dube won't let go

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 58 Views

Electoral outcome predetermined

by Maxwell Sibanda | 18 August 2018 | 32 Views

General Valerio Sibanda issued statement under duress, says Mutsekwa

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 46 Views

Grace Mugabe enjoying life

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 41 Views

Mnangagwa splashes over $1 million on new limo

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 37 Views

Chivayo, Kadungure in trouble

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 37 Views

'Biti acted illegally'

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 61 Views

'Poop at my doorstep'

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 46 Views

Church leader wanted sex

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 54 Views

Mliswa under attack for visiting Johane Masowe shrine

by Simbarashe Sithole | 18 August 2018 | 71 Views

Kofi Annan dies

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 55 Views

Exposed Chief's wife goes berserk threatening all and sundry!

by Concerned Murowa Ward Community | 18 August 2018 | 110 Views

'Senzeni na' guitarist dies

by Stephen Jakes | 18 August 2018 | 82 Views

Chiwenga's trip to Russia suspicious

by Stephen Jakes | 18 August 2018 | 146 Views

Nkayi youths train on active citizenship

by Stephen Jakes | 18 August 2018 | 63 Views

Inside Chamisa's Campaign

by Sam Wezhira | 18 August 2018 | 115 Views

Nkomo pledges to donate to Gwampa ECD

by Stephen Jakes | 18 August 2018 | 53 Views

Chief Justice gives Chamisa deadline

by Staff Reporter | 18 August 2018 | 89 Views

Grace Mugabe 'fake' degree gets UZ vice-chancellor suspended

by Staff Reporter | 18 August 2018 | 66 Views

Zimbabwe police warns against illegal gatherings

by Staff Reporter | 18 August 2018 | 52 Views

Chamisa is not a factor in parliament, which is good

by Igomombe | 18 August 2018 | 76 Views

'Con-Court must be free to decide,' says Chiwenga

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 58 Views

Chamisa in dilemma

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 96 Views

Prophet blew cover on $1m gold theft

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 55 Views

'Proving poll rigging allegations an uphill task'

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 59 Views

Man in 'fiery revenge'

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 58 Views

Trapped artisanal miner dies after five days in mine

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 42 Views

WATCH: Donel Mangena back in Bulawayo

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 43 Views

High court reverses AFM church evictions

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 54 Views

Zimbabwean breaks SA wine auction record

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 48 Views

'No valid application before the court'

by Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba | 18 August 2018 | 70 Views

Challenges for Chamisa's SA lawyers

by Staff reporter | 18 August 2018 | 52 Views