Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter
The United States has invited Zimbabwe to the next US-Africa Summit set for December, a sign that relations between the US and Zimbabwe are gradually mending and that President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement drive is being received positively by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The long-fragmented relations between the US and Zimbabwe are mending, albeit slowly, and the invitation is a sign that the US administration is willing to give discussions a chance to restore normality.
America’s private sector has been responding since the arrival of the Second Republic with US firms like John Deere investing here, leaning on President Mnangagwa’s mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business and is an enemy of none.
Last week Zimbabwe was invited to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, and the United Kingdom is on record that it wants to scale up trade and economic cooperation with Zimbabwe after its official exit from the European Union. Foreign Affairs Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava attended the Queen’s funeral on behalf of President Mnangagwa.
The US and Britain had been the leading countries in the diplomatic and political impasse between Zimbabwe and much of the West as a result of land reform.
The European Union has been normalising relations rapidly, but now that the US and UK are moving steadily along with the envisaged boom in trade could further give further impetus to Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive.
While the EU imposed embargoes on Zimbabwe in 2002 after the launch of fast-track land reform it eased most of them by 2013 when 81 officials and eight local companies were struck off the sanctions list and has been speeding up the normalisation especially after the election of President Mnangagwa.
Britain has been improving ties with Zimbabwe and the UK recently signed an economic partnership agreement as relations between the two improve and far more normal ties now in place following President Mnangagwa’s stance of being “a friend of everyone and enemy of none”.
Despite improved relations with other countries recently, the US seemed intent to hold on the economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe as evidenced by the addition of others to the list of sanctioned individuals.
However, calls for the US to reconsider its position on Zimbabwe have grown louder, especially from countries in the region calling for the end of the economic embargoes, whose effects are being felt by other countries.
Zimbabwe’s invitation to the US-Africa Summit was confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson, Mr Livit Mugejo.
“The Minister (of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Frederick Shava) was invited to attend the US-Africa Summit in Washington set to be hosted in December.
“If you would remember, Zimbabwe previously was not invited to such events, and our invitation is a sign that the country’s re-engagement drive is working,” said Mr Mugejo.
“Aside from the agenda of the summit, we will also use the platform to raise our concerns like calling for the removal of sanctions.”
President Mnangagwa is currently in the United States where he joined other world leaders for the ongoing United Nations General Assembly. During his working visit in the US, the issue of sanctions as well as Zimbabwe’s quest to improve relations with everyone is also set to be tabled.
In his statement President Biden ahead of the US-Africa Summit, said he was looking forward to hosting African leaders in Washington on December 13-15, 2022.
“The summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of US-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities.
“The US-Africa Leaders Summit will build on our shared values to better foster new economic engagement; reinforce the US-Africa commitment to democracy and human rights; mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and of future pandemics; work collaboratively to strengthen regional and global health; promote food security; advance peace and security; respond to the climate crisis; and amplify diaspora ties,” he said.
President Biden said he is looking forward to working with African governments, civil society, diaspora communities across the United States, and the private sector to continue strengthening shared vision for the future of US-Africa relations.
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Re-engagement: Zim invited to US-Africa Summit – The Herald