Source: Mnangagwa meets Aussie envoy | The Herald May 5, 2016
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Australia is satisfied with initiatives being taken by Government to reform the economy under the International Monetary Fund Staff Monitored Programme, Canberra representative in Harare Ms Suzanne McCourt, said yesterday. Zimbabwe was under a 15-month IMF Staff Monitored Programme from September 2014 to December last year during which the Bretton Woods institution wanted to see set targets in economic management to guarantee lines of credit.
Speaking after paying a courtesy call on Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday, Ms McCourt said their deliberations centred on economic reforms. “We talked about the work the Zimbabwe Government is doing to reform in the context of the debt clearance processes, discussing with the IMF and the World Bank and those reforms around that which will clarify positions for business,” she said.
“I was happy and interested to hear from the Vice President about the developments. He outlined a number of initiatives and we discussed about other areas Australian investors will be interested to see reformed.” Asked to specify the sectors, Ms McCourt said: “That’s best left for private discussions.”
She added: “Australia is very interested in encouraging commercial relations and reforming the economy and making the Zimbabwe economy more attractive to foreign investment. It’s a great priority for the Government and for Australia. That was a constructive discussion.”
“The most important issues we talked about are our support for economic reform, our decision that we remain the largest donor and we are building a new embassy. We have answered Zimbabwe’s request for food security and we have given $55 million. Our new embassy is a $180 million project and it is the largest construction in many years.”
On sanctions the US illegally imposed on Zimbabwe, Mr Thomas said its law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act (ZIDERA) would only be removed if Zimbabwe abided by the conditions set by his Government.
Said Mr Thomas: “That is a law passed by the US Senate, approved by the president. The Senate has been very clear on what needs to be done in terms of governance and economic reform in terms of the future of ZIDERA, but that has not stopped the US from being the largest donor, employing many people and saving lives.”
Quizzed on why the US always made noise about missing Harare man Itai Dzamara, Mr Thomas became evasive. “You are talking about Mr Itai Dzamara, it’s a very serious subject. I saw that his brother was marching the other day. We very much appreciate that it was a non-violent, peaceful march looking for Mr Dzamara, calling for his release and we hope that one day he would be brought back. How could you say we are only interested in Mr Dzamara yet we have given more scholarships to the people than any other Governments?”