Zim-EU Dialogue a noble gesture

Gift Mashoko

Last week`s launch of the formal political dialogue between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU) is a noble gesture as both parties agreed to work together in socio-economic and political areas.

The dialogue is part of re-engagement with the EU, and it is being spearheaded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who upon coming into office in November 2017, vowed his commitment to reintegrating Zimbabwe into the community of nations.

Their discussions focused on areas of interest to Zimbabwe and the EU, among others, investment, trade and economic development, climate change and humanitarian assistance, human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law, development cooperation, and regional and international cooperation.

Years had passed with stained and frosty relations that followed Zimbabwe’s fallout with Britain over the historical land issue. President Emerson Mnangagwa’s drive of engagement and re-engagement with the international community is therefore bearing fruit, following the birth of this Zim-EU formal political dialogue.

Relations between the two parties are set to improve. This dialogue is expected to open a fresh page that will have major geopolitical implications and benefits for Zimbabwe, whose international relations unfavourably affected domestic prospects for growth economically and socially.

During the Zim-EU formal political dialogue launch, Permanent Secretary for International Trade, Ambassador James Manzou said, “this event that brings us together, marks another milestone in the Government’s re-engagement efforts and indeed in the strengthening of relations between Zimbabwe and EU.

“As you are all aware re-engagement with EU is one of the foreign policy priorities of the Government of Republic of Zimbabwe. Looking back on the informal exchanges that we have held, but together we have laid the groundwork for a frank and constructive engagement on all issues aimed at further strengthening our relations,” he said.

Ambassador Manzou added that through vision 2030, the Government under the leadership of His Excellency, the President has committed to steer Zimbabwe to an upper middle income status by 2030. This, he said is a huge task but one that is doable. Adding that Zimbabwe will continue to count on the support of our EU partners in this noble endeavour.

The relationship between Zimbabwe and EU will help Zimbabwe achieve vision 2030 for the well-being of its people. A stronger and prosperous Zimbabwe will also be beneficial for the EU as this will broaden and deepen areas of mutual co-operation, as the two exchange views on the agreed priority areas namely economic development, trade and investment, climate change and its humanitarian impact, human rights, democratisation, rule of law.

Ambassador Manzou’s words are a clear reflection of how ready Zimbabwe is for dialogue, because only through dialogue and association with global community can Zimbabwe realise its vision of becoming a middle income status by 2030.

The dialogue will to a larger extent give Government the platform to clear the air on speculations by detractors that Zimbabwe is not a safe investment and tourist destination. Through dialogue the international community will be able to see a true picture of Zimbabwe and appreciate its engagement drive and how it is dealing with the issue of socio-economic and political reforms.

During the same launch, EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Timo Olkkonen appreciated how the Government is seriously committed with its reform agenda, and the positive steps it has taken in terms of Constitutional alignment. Ambabssador Olkkonen noted that the new legal proposals that are coming up, clearly testify how serious the Government is about moving forward and also the fact that there is now staff monitoring programme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a joint press statement by Zimbabwe and EU after the launch of the formal political dialogue, the two highlighted that the formal political dialogue process is in accordance with article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement of the year 2000. The Cotonou Agreement governs relations between the African, Caribbean and the Pacific group, ACP, as it is commonly known and the EU.

Dialogue is good for Zimbabwe as it will among other things strengthen   leadership   capabilities   to   form   productive   coalitions, there is improvement of the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of the collective leadership of Zimbabwe, planning for development is worked on. The dialogue with the EU is a noble gesture because Zimbabwe is set to benefit immensely from this re-born relationship