Outgoing German envoy lauds New Dispensation
Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
OUTGOING German Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Thorsten Hutter has hailed the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa over its commitment to re-engage and learn from past mistakes.
This comes as Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts with the rest of the world, on equal footing, continue to bear fruits as countries and companies that were reluctant to do business with Zimbabwe are now stepping in with multi-million investments.
It also comes as the Government has made it its mission under the mantra of Zimbabwe is Open for Business to open the country to investors from across the globe in order to achieve President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 of making the country an upper middle-income economy.
Addressing journalists soon after bidding farewell to President Mnangagwa at State House yesterday, after a four-year tour of duty, Dr Hutter said Germany and Zimbabwe should deepen their bilateral relations riding on the high level visits that Harare had from senior Government officials and company executives from Berlin that came in 2018 to explore investment opportunities.
“I think that the New Dispensation first of all is willing to listen. His Excellency has said he is a listening President.
“That is very important. The other thing is the willingness to correct things that did not go so well. I believe that the people of Zimbabwe want the country to be more open and modern in order to have a positive economic development,” he said.
Dr Hutter said Zimbabwe and Germany ought to deepen both political and economic cooperation, taking advantage of recent visits by business people who were in Harare in 2018 to scout for opportunities.
“We have done very well in terms of bilateral relations. I have tried to work with as many people as possible to discuss possible ways for cooperation. We have had high level visits, we have been engaging, sitting down discussing especially on economic reforms that enhance trade and investment. Our companies have had engagement with Zimbabwean companies in 2018, I believe that has been going on very well,” said Dr Hutter.
In 2018, German firm, Liebherr Components AG Sales led by its director, Mr Phillip Lenz came to Zimbabwe and held several meetings with some Government officials that included Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to get an understanding of investment opportunities in the country.
During the same year, President Mnangagwa met a 14-member delegation of German businesspeople who expressed interest in investing in Zimbabwe.
The team is led by Amatheon Agri Holdings chief executive officer Mr Carl Bruhn. The German investors are into farming, food processing, healthcare, housing, mining and energy.
Headquartered in Berlin, Amatheon Agri is an agribusiness entity with operations in African countries like Zambia and Uganda
Dr Hutter said he had also discussed several political developments in the Sadc region and other ways to enhance cooperation between Zimbabwe and Germany.
Commenting on the prospects of improving bilateral relations given that German together with European Union members imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, Dr Hutter said there was need to continue re-engaging.
He said his government together with firms that visited Zimbabwe had conveyed their expectations, something he said should improve the two countries’ relations.
Germany, together with the EU and the United States imposed sanctions around 2002 after Harare embarked on the land reform programme aimed at correcting historical land imbalances.