The first United Kingdom trade mission to Zimbabwe in over a decade arrives in Harare tomorrow, Ambassador Catriona Laing has said, signalling a thawing of relations between the two countries.
Relations between Zimbabwe and its former colonial master have been frosty and UK, as part of the European Union bloc imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe, his inner circle and selected firms in 2002 over alleged rights abuses.
The delegation’s visit shows a thawing of the relationship after the bloc progressively eased the embargo since 2009 when the veteran ruler agreed to share power with the opposition.
UK ambassador to Zimbabwe Laing said the delegation, which includes officials from infrastructure firms, will conduct meetings with management of state owned enterprises, captains of industry, international donors and British businesses which are already trading in Zimbabwe.
“Trade and investment is vital for Zimbabwe’s development. We want to strengthen business links and to show our commitment and we are sending a Trade Mission to translate interest into investment,” said Laing in a statement.
She said the Zimbabwe government will need to reassure investors that their assets will be secure by clarifying its indigenisation policy, which stipulates that 51 percent of all foreign owned businesses worth over $500 000 must be sold to black Zimbabweans.
The mission will run under a theme ‘Applying UK expertise in project finance, infrastructure and development to support the implementation of the economic blueprint; Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset).
The delegation will be led by Alex Lambeth, director of British Expertise, a leading trade organisation. The four other delegates are from UK firms with substantial regional experience across many key infrastructure sectors.- The Source