HARARE – Despite outrage by some sections over United States sanctions against Zimbabwe, the country’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols says his country has strived to maintain friendly relations.
Nichols said this in Masvingo at a signing ceremony of the $475 000 financial grant which will go towards the rehabilitation of the Great Zimbabwe Monument this week.
“Our presence here in Zimbabwe continues to be a sign of the American people’s friendship and commitment to the people of Zimbabwe. This (the $475 000 grant) is just a further step in our continuing friendship with the people of Zimbabwe and their culture.
“Keep in mind that the US has provided over $3 billion to Zimbabwe since independence. Every year, we provide around $200 million as assistance to Zimbabwe and in cultural areas we believe that there is an opportunity for us to corporate,” he said.
Nichols said this is not the first time that the US has provided assistance towards the Great Zimbabwe monument but his country has provided security equipment for the site museum.
The $475 000 project funded by the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation will assist in the eradication of the invasive weed, latana camara, which is affecting remains of the dhaka earthen structures.
He added that he is happy to work together on such an iconic project. “In fact the key point of this project that I love is that it has seeds for future projects; there is more to come in the future.”
In his speech during the signing ceremony, Resident minister for Masvingo Province Ezra Chadzamira pleaded with the US to extend its arm by assisting in reviving the Zimbabwe’s economy and supporting president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s vision of a middle-income economy status by 2030.
Chadzamira seconded Chief Murinye (Ephias Munodawafa)’s call for US President Donald Trump to lift the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
“They (US) claim to be helping us but at the same time imposing sanctions, it really doesn’t help,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ambassador said the construction of a new American embassy which is likely to open next January has created 1 200 jobs for Zimbabweans. “As many of you know, we are building a new embassy here in Zimbabwe, an embassy modelled on the Great Zimbabwe. Our project has injected more than $40 million into the Zimbabwean economy and employs over 1 200 Zimbabweans in its completion,” said Nichols.
“We hope to move into our new embassy in January and each time I walk through the doors I will think of the true Great Zimbabwe that is here. I will be reminded of the unwavering support and commitment of the people of Zimbabwe and the friendship between our two nations.”