Information Minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday said the United States, which is exhibiting at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair after years of boycotting the annual event, should show both hands not just one of pretending to be an honest broker.
Moyo said the United States’ participation at the fair, which started on Tuesday, would give it an understanding of how harmful the sanctions.
The United States added three more individuals and removed 10 including some who are dead from its sanctions list, something that continues to irk Zimbabwe which says the sanctions have cost it US$42 billion.
“Time has come for them to promote trade. You can’t come here saying you are an honest broker and show one hand and hide the other with hostility and animosity. We receive them with both hands and ask them to show the two hands and stop the behaviour they have been doing since 2001. We will be keenly following what they do after this,” Moyo said.
United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton, who was at the fair, said his country cared about Zimbabwe and its future and recognised how important it was for the country’s economy to get going again.
“The essential basis for a growing economy is confidence. Confidence that government policies will be predictable and implemented consistently; confidence that private property and intellectual property will be protected; confidence that courts will treat all people fairly in accordance with the law. Without confidence in these and other basic governance processes, domestic and foreign businesses are reluctant to invest,” he said.
But, he added, while the politicians were working out the details, businesses and citizens needed to get moving.
Wharton said instead of just focussing on the traditional sectors of agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing, Zimbabwe should seriously look at the information, communications and technology sector because it had the human capital required.
“Africa has the greatest ICT growth potential of any continent, and Zimbabwe is far and away the nation in Africa best able to lead and profit from that growth. No other nation in Africa has the same powerful combination of intellectual capital, infrastructure and language capability that Zimbabwe has, “he said
The global app economy was worth US$53 billion in 2012, and was expected to rise to $68 billion in 2013. In June 2011, the global video game market was valued at US$65 billion.
Wharton said the latest report on African internet trends from browser service Opera Mini showed that Zimbabwe had the highest representation of local content domains, with four of its top ten most frequented websites being local.
“This trend suggests that the Zimbabwean mobile broadband user is a huge consumer of local content, something which startups should explore as an opportunity,” he said.