Lincoln Towindo recently in KIGALI, Rwanda
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday joined 44 other leaders in assenting to three major economic agreements during the African Union Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda.
The President appended his signature to the Agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA), the Protocol establishing the African Economic Community relating to free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment and the Kigali Declaration for the launch of the AfCTA.
The African Union Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, paved the way for Zimbabweans to be issued with African passports in future, while the two other agreements resulted in the setting up of the AfCTA.
President Mnangagwa returned home last night and was welcomed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport by his two Vice Presidents, General Constatino Chiwenga (Retired) and Cde Kembo Mohadi, and other senior Government officials.
Speaking in an interview on arrival, the President said: “The signing today was very historic for the first time, the AfCTA has been launched today and out of 55 countries, 44 have signed. There was also the protocol on free movement of Africans in Africa, on that one let me say of the 44, Zimbabwe is one of them.
“Then there is a declaration, the Kigali Declaration, which AU member States are commiting themselves to the AfCTA, if they have not signed now there is declaration of intent. Again we have signed that one. Beyond that, as Zimbabwe, we have also signed the AU Charter relating to democratic elections, the conducting of democratic elections, we have ourselves acceded to that charter.
“Lastly, we signed another protocol relating to the Pan African Parliament, most members of the AU had done so, but for some reason Zimabwe had not done so. So, we have put those things behind us and we are now a progressive member of the AU.”
President Mnangagwa yesterday morning invited the Rwandan business community to explore investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, promising an improved investment environment.
Addressing Rwandan captains of industry and commerce during a breakfast meeting, the President said his administration was committed to the implementation of consistent and transparent economic policies.
He said his Government will guarantee the repatriation of investors’ profits to their country of origin in line with the country’s laws.
President Mnangagwa said the Zimbabwean economy was on the up and investors should take the first mover’s advantage.
The breakfast meeting was organised by the Rwandan Development Board.
“Zimbabwe is now primed towards economic resuscitation and growth under my administration,” said President Mnangagwa. “My approach towards growing the economy lies in implementing broad reforms that meaningfully and holistically contribute towards socio-economic transformation, modernisation of industry, the creation of jobs and the overall improvement of the standard of life of the generality of the people of my country.
“My Government is committed to an institution of sound market principles, adoption and implementation of consistent and transparent policies that will render Zimbabwe a competitive and preferred investment destination.
“In that regard, we continue to improve the investment climate and the ease of doing business to make our country an attractive investment destination.”
President Mnangagwa said reconfiguration of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act had opened up opportunities for foreign businesses to operate in Zimbabwe.
The civil service, President Mnangagwa said, was being calibrated to improve its efficiency and responsiveness.
“Through various legislative measures such as the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, which was a constraint on investment attraction to Zimbabwe, this has now been attended to,” he said.
“We appreciate that capital goes where it feels safe and comfortable and my Government has committed to inculcate the development and the application of good international standards and practices regarding investments, as well as the respect of bilateral investments and promotion and protection of interests.
“For foreign investments, we guarantee the right of investors to repatriate their profits within the confines of our domestic laws. With regards to the public sector, my Government continues to put in place measures to improve general efficiency and responsiveness at all levels of our bureaucracy.
“Furthermore, my administration has declared zero tolerance to corruption. We also have Zimbabwe’s abundant, quality, skilled and diligent human capital which is undoubtedly one of the cornerstones in building a strong and sustainable economy.”