Zimbabweans might feel disheartened about their economy, but Britain is not. The United Kingdom has a “prosperity officer” in Zimbabwe because it considers the country one of those with opportunities for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
This was said by the British Foreign Minister Mark Simmonds last week in response to a question in the House of Commons.
Simmonds said Britain had prosperity officers in 23 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their main aim is to support the local business environment and UK companies to win business.
An advert by one British embassy for a prosperity officer said a prosperity officer would be responsible for political economic analysis and support UK companies with businesses in the country.
The prosperity officer would be a member of the political team and would provide analysis on the links between economics, politics and security.
Crispin Blunt (Reigate, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to which African countries he (a) has appointed and (b) intends to appoint prosperity officers.
Mark Simmonds (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; Boston and Skegness, Conservative): In response to the opportunities presented by economic growth across sub-Saharan Africa we have over the last 18 months increased substantially the number of prosperity officers in the region. Additionally we have established Regional Prosperity networks in South, West and East Africa to support the local business environment and UK companies in winning business. We have prosperity officers in 23 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. These are: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. There are no current plans to appoint additional prosperity officers.