Happiness Zengeni in Davos, Switzerland
President Mnangagwa accelerated his interactions with key global institutions and leaders here yesterday, some of them who tabled big plans to invest in the country.
The President, together with his delegation, also met some financiers who will help the country clear its external debt arrears as well as invest in the country.
The World Economic Forum’s 48th Annual Meeting underway in Davos, Switzerland, ends tomorrow.
According to its organisers, Davos brings together thousands of business leaders, senior government officials and policymakers, and social-change advocates to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world such as: inequality, climate change, a sustainable economy, youth employment, Syria and peace process in the Middle East.
In the meeting rooms and on the sidelines, people argue and inform, change their minds, and make new friends.
The forum is an opportunity for international investors to exchange notes on business opportunities as the CEOs who gather control a huge chunk of the world’s investment capital.
President Mnangagwa, who said the invitation to attend the forum had been obtained a couple of weeks ago, believes that the interactions are part of his efforts to communicate to the world that Zimbabwe is open for business.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General (Retired) Sibusiso Moyo, told our Harare Bureau that the business environment at the forum was “quite buoyant with a highly packed series of courtesy calls on the ‘global man of the moment’ President Mnangagwa.”
He added that commitments were being made by ‘huge’ corporates, financial institutions and from political leaders across the board.
“New relations seem to be developing from a bilateral perspective. Different groupings are growing familiar and accustomed to our new administration.”
Courtesy calls yesterday included a visit from Jose Laroca, the head of Trafigura, officials from Nestle, UNDP and VT Bank of Russia, following hard on the heels of a meeting with the Standard Chartered on Tuesday.
The President also held meetings with a group of top executives who included Andre Wilkins, chief executive African Rainbow Minerals, Tongaat Hulett ceo Peter Staude, National aviation services head Hassan El Houry, Jacques Aigran – senior advisor and chairman designate at Puma, a representative from Agility Tarek sultan.
The Zimbabwean delegation was also supposed to meet African Development Bank officials at the time of going to print last night.
And politically, efforts towards reengagement with the West were boosted when former US Deputy Secretary of State, and the first ever US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte paid a courtesy call on the President.
In an interview after the visit Mr Negroponte said he would take a message back to Washington that it has “to be serious about its cooperation with the country, now that political change has occurred.”
After Davos, President Mnangagwa is scheduled to meet over 50 investors in Zurich over a luncheon tomorrow.
Some of the corporations expected to attend include Quantum Global, Deutshe Bank, ABB, Swiss Re, Norvatis.