Zimbabwe a safe investment destination: Dutch envoy




Barbara Van Hellemond yesterday heaped praises on President Mnangagwa

OUTGOING Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Barbara Van Hellemond yesterday heaped praises on President Mnangagwa’s commitment to reforms as she described the country as a safe investment destination.

At the birth of the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa made it clear that the country was a friend to all and foe to none and his administration began the process of reaching out to former hostile nations as part of the country engagement and re-engagement drive.

Apart from reaching out to all nations, President Mnangagwa has opened the country for investors with the country’s ease of doing business steadily improving.

The country’s ease of doing business index increased from a score of 47.8 in 2016 to 54.47 in 2020, growing at an average annual rate of 3.36 percent.

Speaking to journalists after bidding farewell to President Mnangagwa at State House, Ambassador Hellemond said Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination.

“Me and my family, we had a lovely time in Zimbabwe, it is a very welcoming country, the people are very nice and approachable and a safe country as well.

“What I have seen over the past four years is that we have started the engagement process, the Netherlands, the EU, and Zimbabwe have started the dialogue, we are intensifying our dialogue.

“I have seen improvements. The Zimbabwean Government has opened up, improving the investor climate, challenges are being addressed. There is also conversation around acquired and redistributed farms as we all know that compensation of acquired land is key to re-establishing a guarantee of tenure and international competitiveness,” she said.

The praises from the Netherlands come at a time when the country has also received praises from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for its economic reforms.

In June, the IMF praised Zimbabwe’s resilience to Covid-19 while endorsing the significant progress made towards transforming the economy.

In a statement, the IMF said Zimbabwe is poised for solid economic recovery across key sectors this year, riding on the bumper harvest realised in the last season.

Posted to Zimbabwe four years ago, Ambassador Hellenmond ends her tour of duty at a time when President Mnangagwa put the land question to bed as he oversaw the signing of the historic US$3,5 billion Global Compensation Deed (GCD) between Government and representatives of white former farmers.

The historic milestone demonstrates the Second Republic’s commitment to reengagement and constitutionalism.

She is also leaving when Zimbabwe and the EU have re-established formal dialogue, a platform where the two parties agreed to meet twice a year, ending years of frosty relations.

“We talked about bilateral relations between the two countries. We talked about the importance of agriculture for both countries. We are both in exporting agriculture so we shared experiences. The Netherlands is supporting Zimbabwe in improving its export capacity. We also looked back on the past four years, we talked about the commitment of His Excellency to reforms, we talked about gender-based violence that is being addressed.”

Several European countries such as Switzerland have also praised the Second Republic’s economic and political reforms that have seen the country’s economy growing after years of stagnation while the democratic space has also been opened.

Since coming to power in November 2017, the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has made strides in job creation, re-engagement, democracy, curbing corruption, conflict resolution, and agricultural productivity, among other achievements aimed at fostering socio-economic development and peaceful co-existence to eradicate poverty. – Herald