UK appoints ex-World Bank Director new Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Melanie Robinson
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LONDON – The British government has appointed Melanie Robinson as Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe starting in January 2019.

Robinson will take over from Catriona Laing who has been reassigned to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. At the moment Robinson is the executive director for the United Kingdom at the World Bank Group Washington.

She has extensive experience working for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).

The U.K says it would strongly support Zimbabwe’s re-entry into the Commonwealth, a 53-nation bloc of former British colonies that could bring economic benefit to the once-pariah African state.

“The U.K. would strongly support Zimbabwe’s re-entry” into the Commonwealth, a press release from the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said at a roundtable at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

“The historic meeting ushers in a new era in U.K.-Zimbabwe relations and symbolizes Zimbabwe’s commitment to engaging meaningfully with the international community.”

The meeting signified the step in Zimbabwe’s attempt to reinstate its relationships with other countries, after decades of international isolation under former President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, who ruled the former British colony for nearly four decades, was ousted in November as part of a military coup. He was succeeded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, formerly Mugabe’s deputy.

Mnangagwa has been trumpeting a “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra in an attempt to resurrect the nation’s economy, which has been crippled by hyperinflation and sanctions.

Mugabe withdrew Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth in 2003 in a row over sanctions.


Full name: Melanie Robinson

Married to: Lucas Robinson

Children: Two

2015 to present World Bank Group Washington, Executive Director for the UK
2012 to 2015 Department for International Development (DFID), Addis Ababa, Head of Office
2010 to 2012 DFID, Principal Private Secretary to Secretary of State
2009 to 2010 Department for Energy and Climate Change, Head of International Climate Policy
2007 to 2009 DFID, Team Leader, Climate Change Adaptation
2005 to 2007 DFID, Private Secretary to Secretary of State
2004 to 2005 DFID, Policy Analyst, lead on UK G8 and EU Presidencies
2002 to 2004 DFID, Senior Programme Officer, Mozambique
2001 to 2002 DFID, Policy Analyst, Performance and Effectiveness Department
2000 to 2001 DFID, EU Lead, Central and South Eastern Europe Department