By Kennedy Nyavaya in Berlin, Germany
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government needs to move beyond rhetoric if it wants to attract meaningful foreign investment, a German senior government official has said.
Stefan Oswald , the director-general for sub-Saharan Africa in the Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), told journalists attending an International Journalists’ Programme that Mnangagwa’s administration had done little on the ground to prove its commitment to policy reforms.
“The lyrics of the new Zimbabwe government are perfect, but what counts is to move from lyrics to action, otherwise I cannot convince anybody over here to re-engage and that is also something, which is really important,” Oswald said.
Mnangagwa’s economic restructuring agenda has been anchored on the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra since taking the reins from Robert Mugabe through a
military coup in November 2017.
According to Oswald, Germany is ready to have meaningful developmental cooperation with the southern African country if the government adheres to good
governance that encompasses democracy, rule of law and human rights, among other fundamentals.
“In principle, the programmes presented by the president and his new cabinet are good, but making it happen to convince us also that they are really serious about it is the difference we can talk about,” he said.
“You can write nice papers, but if the political will is not there to really make it happen then the president has to go into a discussion with those ones who brought him into power [because] the military is having a strong role and they are not reform-minded.”
His sentiments come at a time Zimbabwe’s economy is failing with fears if hyperinflation growing by the day.
Efforts to engage the international community, particularly the West, appear to be hitting a snag owing mostly to the country’s failure to repay debts, abuse of human rights and political instability, which Oswald said could be reversed by opening “a multiple democratic space”.
“We think bit-by-bit one has to create more openness for other political forces, otherwise things are not going to move forward,” Oswald said.
Germany is one of the countries that Zimbabwe is highly indebted to.