via Zim needs positive engagement: Swiss envoy | The Herald June 27, 2015
There is renewed interest from several countries to re-engage and do business with Zimbabwe, which has seen many foreign trade missions visiting the country, Switzerland’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Luciano Lavizzari, said.
He made the remarks on the occasion of the 724th anniversary of the foundation of the Swiss Confederation in Harare yesterday.
Mr Lavizzari said Zimbabwe had been on a positive trajectory of late and there was need for “patient encouragement and positive engagement” for the country to yield meaningful progress.
Ambassador Lavizzari commended the country for enacting the new Constitution and conducting peaceful elections.
“I would start by saying that in the recent past, Zimbabwe enjoyed an enviable level of peace and stability,” said Mr Lavizzari. “The country approved a good new Constitution with a very good Bill of Rights in the referendum of March 2013. This was followed by harmonised elections, which despite a number of shortcomings, were remarkably peaceful,” he said, adding:
“At the same time, Zimbabwe is experiencing the visit of many trade missions, which signal a renewed interest of other countries in doing business with Zimbabwe.”
Mr Lavizzari said re-engagement with the international monetary institutions might solve the country’s external debt situation, which for long has scuttled access to loans from international lenders to turnaround the economy.
Zimbabwe, he said, was a relatively young country with a lot of potential if left to develop without outside interference.
“In a way, the age of countries seems to work like vintage for wines: the older they become the better they tend to be,” said Mr Lavizzari.
“This is worth remembering when we consider the situation of young counties such as Zimbabwe. While clearly the young age of a country should not be taken as a pretext for delaying necessary changes and developments, I am convinced that in the long run in a country such as Zimbabwe, patient encouragement and positive engagement can yield positive results.”
As part of efforts to improve bilateral ties, Mr Lavizzari said an agreement between Zimbabwe and Switzerland in many areas of co-operation including development co-operation, humanitarian aid and human security was in the final stages of negotiation.
An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa said there was need for mutual respect between the two countries. “The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to aligning the statutes with the new Constitution and there is need for mutual respect without chastisement and recrimination,” said Ambassador Chipaziwa.
He added that despite some challenges, Switzerland remained upbeat about doing business with Zimbabwe.
“And If I talk to business people representing Swiss companies here in Zimbabwe, I get a clear sense that in spite of concrete difficulties, they are all upbeat about doing business in this country,” said Mr Lavizzari.
“Add to that the resilience, education standard, generosity, talent and love for their country of the people of Zimbabwe, I do not have any doubt that Zimbabwe’s future will be bright and shiny — which of course is what we all wish for this wonderful country and its equally wonderful people.”
An official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa said there was need for mutual respect between the two countries.
“The Government of Zimbabwe is committed to aligning the statutes with the new Constitution and there is need for mutual respect without chastisement and recrimination,” said Ambassador Chipaziwa.
The Swiss national day is celebrated on August 1, but Mr Lavizzari said he would not be around by then saying his term as Ambassador to Zimbabwe is ending at the end of October this year.
High-ranking Government officials and diplomats of foreign missions accredited to Zimbabwe, among others attended the event, while a local musical group, Gwenga provided entertainment at the colourful event.