Nordic-Africa Ministers’ meeting opens vast opportunities for Zim: Dr Muswere

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Nordic-Africa Ministers’ meeting opens vast opportunities for Zim: Dr Muswere
 Dr Muswere

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke, Senior Reporter

Zimbabwe’s selection to host the 2025 Africa-Nordic Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting signifies a major breakthrough in the country’s efforts to re-engage with the international community, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere has said.

The high-level meeting will see participation from five Nordic nations (Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden) and 32 African countries.

Discussions will centre on areas of mutual interest, including political, economic and social issues.

In an interview with Star FM last week, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere highlighted the importance of reviving good relations between Zimbabwe and Nordic countries. The relations date back to the liberation struggle when they supported nationalists’ interests.

Said Dr Muswere: “Re-engagement and engagement is part of the Second Republic foreign policy thrust to ensure that Zimbabwe is a part of the international community. And in that context, the Government of Zimbabwe has put in place appropriate policy and legislative frameworks in order to safeguard investors’ interests and guarantee the protection of investments. As I have indicated, His Excellency the President, Dr ED Mnangagwa, has created a magnetic investment climate, which allows an increase in terms of foreign direct investment. So the nomination of Zimbabwe to host the Nordic Africa Foreign Ministers meetings in the year 2025 is evidence that the re-engagement efforts are bearing fruit,” he said.

He said the Government was optimistic that the meeting would help to boost cooperation between Zimbabwe and the Nordic countries in areas such as technology, skills transfer, technical and financial support. It will also enable Zimbabwe to access markets in the Nordic countries.

The relationship between Zimbabwe and some of the Nordic countries had stalled as a result of economic sanctions that were imposed on the country by the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

“Now we see the resuscitation of the pre-2002 bilateral, technical and economic cooperation with the Nordic countries, which is a signal that attests to the success of the engagement and re-engagement that has been led by His Excellency the President, Dr ED Mnangagwa. This also creates markets for Zimbabwe’s goods and services. It also allows for skills transfer. It also allows for joint cooperation in a number of areas and also allows for foreign direct investment coming from Nordic countries,” Dr Muswere said.

He said Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product had grown over the years and this meant that sectors such as mining and agriculture, among others, were also poised for growth.

The meeting, according to Dr Muswere, was an opportunity for local companies to create partnerships that would further drive the country’s economic agenda.

“It also provides an opportunity for the academia to be able to share research, to transfer skills, and it also provides an opportunity for the development of trade between the Nordic countries and the Republic of Zimbabwe. So this is a very important ministers’ meeting, which we believe is going to reposition Zimbabwe as a key player in international relations, as we journey towards an upper middle income society by the year 2030,” he said.

Before the Africa-Nordic Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting in 2025, Zimbabwe will this year host the SADC Summit.

The minister spoke about the preparations for the summit which he said had been moving flawlessly.

“Our preparations are at an advanced stage in terms of infrastructure, the road infrastructure, water reticulation infrastructure, the communications infrastructure, the development around the reception, the beautification of the city and many other issues related to the hosting of the SADC Summit. Zimbabwe has been given a unique opportunity to be able to foster cooperation, regional cooperation and also to champion peace, stability within the region,” said Dr Muswere.

“The region is confident that Zimbabwe is in safe hands. The region is also confident that Zimbabwe will primarily also focus on the promotion of economic integration by advocating for the implementation of various initiatives, which also include the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, the SADC Industrialisation Plan, the African Continental Free Trade Area, among other regional issues, as we chair the bloc.”

He said Zimbabwe will also champion a number of issues related to regional infrastructure such as transportation networks, railways, airports, power generation and telecommunications.

Dr Muswere said as the SADC chair, Zimbabwe will prioritise conflict resolution and peacebuilding initiatives, promoting dialogue and mediation in countries experiencing political conflict.

“Given the reality that SADC is experiencing a severe drought, following the failure of the 2023/2024 farming season in a number of countries due to the effects of El Nino, Zimbabwe will also spearhead the current initiatives that we have adopted as a country, which also include climate proof agriculture among member states, in terms of promoting capacity building and technical cooperation. This will then ensure that we have institutional capacity and human resources development in many spheres of regional economies, including in agriculture, education and also in ICT and road construction,” he added.

By so-doing, the minister said Zimbabwe could effectively utilise its SADC chairmanship to enhance regional cooperation, drive economic growth and improve the lives of citizens within the SADC region.