‘New ambassadorial appointments strategic’

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

‘New ambassadorial appointments strategic’ Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe

Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter

President Mnangagwa has been commended for strengthening diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia by appointing seasoned diplomat Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe to serve as the country’s representative there.

Ambassador Wutawunashe was appointed on the same day another career diplomat Mr Taonga Mushayavanhu became Zimbabwe’s new ambassador to the United Nations in New York while Mrs Abigail Shonhiwa is the new ambassador to China, based in Beijing and Ms Stella Nkomo the new chief envoy to India, stationed in New Delhi.

Under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe’s investment drive is attracting the attention of Saudi Arabia and the latter has indicated its willingness to set up an embassy here as well as incorporating the country in the Saudi Development                Fund.

Saudi Arabia’s willingness was expressed by the then Minister of State for African Countries Affairs, Mr Ahmed Kattan during his visit to Zimbabwe in November 2020 when he had the opportunity to meet President Mnangagwa.

With a gross domestic product of more than US$800 billion in 2021, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s top 20 economies and its interest in doing business in Zimbabwe is a sign Zimbabwe is now dealing with big capital in its quest to attain an upper middle income society by 2030.

Speaking with The Herald recently, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Mr Mike Kamungeremu said businesses were upbeat about engaging Saudi companies.

“It’s an important development to have an embassy in Saudi Arabia which is welcome for business,” said Mr Kamungeremu.

“There is huge capital in Saudi Arabia and as ZNCC, we will definitely work with the new embassy to connect with business people from that country and do business.

“We are also aware of efforts being made by ZimTrade to grow exports to that country and we hope the new embassy will make it much easier for us to get clients from that country and export our products,” said Mr Kamungeremu.

Previously, Saudi Arabia dispatched a high-powered delegation to Zimbabwe to scout opportunities in mining, agriculture, tourism and infrastructural development as well as strengthen diplomatic and trade ties between the two countries.

University of Zimbabwe international affairs lecturer as well as diplomatic and political affairs expert Dr Prolific Mataruse commended Zimbabwe’s foreign policy trajectory.

“Strengthening relations especially economically with Saudi Arabia is an excellent move and I commended the Government of Zimbabwe for that,” said Dr Mataruse.

“Saudi Arabia’s economic outlook is strong. Saudi Arabia is on the road to become one of the world’s strongest economies and it will rank among the top seven economies globally.

“Now that we are pursuing economic diplomacy I think it is wise to expand relations with countries that have strong economies and are willing to invest in Zimbabwe.

“President Mnangagwa has done the responsible thing of pursuing a multi-pronged foreign policy of re-engagement, affirmation and engagement, I commend him for pursuing it and could give him a vigorous policy of economic diplomacy,” said Dr Mataruse.

The new envoy to Saudi Arabia, tasked to lead the country’s economic diplomacy agenda, Ambassador Wutawunashe is a seasoned diplomat and public servant who served in diplomatic missions for over 40 years having joined Government service in 1980, and was among the pioneering group of Zimbabwe’s diplomatic trainees.

Ambassador Wutawunashe was selected for further diplomatic training in Australia, and also has an MA in International Relations from Washington.