UN, EU share perspectives on “Zimbabwe open for business”

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27 February 2018, Harare - The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Bishow Parajuli and the EU Head of Delegation and Ambassador, H.E Philippe Van Damme shared their perspectives on the prevailing theme of “Zimbabwe is open for business”.  The top diplomats leading two multilateral organizations, UN Development System and European Union, in Zimbabwe featured on the “Morning Grill” programme of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services Radio Spot FM with host Tawanda Gudhlangah in Harare today.

“Opening Zimbabwe for business is music to every Zimbabwean’s ears and to friends of Zimbabwe such as the United Nations,” said Mr. Bishow Parajuli today speaking to Spot FM Zimbabwe. “The UN recognizes that the long-term response to the prevailing economic and social challenges in the country lies not in hand-outs and dependence, but on creating the space for entrepreneurs and empowered men and women who will also create jobs for others,” said Mr. Parajuli.

The UN has been supporting the Government in this pursuit through various new initiatives including the establishment of a Think Tank, initiated by the Office of the President and Cabinet, to ensure the generation of evidence based development policies and strategies, a joint needs assessment for Zimbabwe to explore triggers and support for economic turnaround, and supporting the Zimbabwean Diplomatic Corps to discuss foreign policy issues including the country’s re-engagement with the international community including the International Financial Institutions, Zimbabwean trade, investment and tourism promotion as well as rebranding Zimbabwe globally to attract partnership for investment and trade.  

Speaking on the 2018 National Budget, the Resident Coordinator said that increased spending on health and education is heartening and shows Zimbabwe is on the right track to achieve economic and social development as well as fulfilling its international obligations, chief among them the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Achievement of SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth will require significant investment as the economy in Zimbabwe has been stagnant for years,” added EU Ambassador H.E Van Damme. “The Government must clarify its policy on ease of doing business, indigenization and the role of Government including the parastatals.”

During the interview, both the UN Resident Coordinator and EU Ambassador highly appreciated the Government’s expressed commitment to conduct peaceful, free, fair and credible election, highlighting the UN’s capacity building work with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) with support from the EU and Japan.

“The successful execution of the upcoming election will not only contribute to the growth of democratic governance of the country but will also be the litmus-test for economic growth as it will facilitate diaspora and foreign investment,” stated Mr. Parajuli.

The UN Resident Coordinator highlighted other areas of focus for economic growth and inclusive development such as agriculture, tourism and gender equity while emphasising the private sector’s role in becoming “responsible long-term investors.

The UN Resident Coordinator said: “Given the high dependence of the rural population on agriculture, jobs must be created and new investments made in a diversified agriculture base and agribusiness if a big dent in rural poverty is to be achieved.”

“Tourism is a high potential sector for Zimbabwe and is also an area where job creation in rural areas could take off with the right entrepreneur spirit, skills training, tourism related infrastructure development and an approach to eco-friendly business”, added Mr Parajuli.

Concluding the 45-minute interview, the Resident Coordinator committed the UN’s ongoing support to the government of Zimbabwe through the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF) priority areas of social services, food and nutrition security, gender equality, HIV and AIDS, poverty reduction and value addition and public administration and governance. “Improving on these areas will improve overall inclusive development and economic growth for the country, priming Zimbabwe to open for business”, said the UN Resident Coordinator.