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Denmark is keen to normalise relations with Zimbabwe and will explore ways of investing in the country via the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, a diplomat from that country has said.

Royal Danish Embassy Office Charge d’Affaires Erik Brogger Rasmussen said in a statement yesterday that his visit to ZITF would create ger ties between the two countries and boost business opportunities.

Denmark is part of the European, which imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in early 2002 in an unsuccessful bid to push President Mugabe out of office in that year’s Presidential elections following the revolutionary land reform programme.

The sanctions were imposed in violation of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, and several EU countries are understood to have been opposed to the embargo but went along with it in line with the bloc’s common policy positions.

Mr Rasmussen said, “This is a stride towards normalising relations between Zimbabwe and Denmark.

“In the process we are also responding to the call for meaningful engagement that was made by the Zimbabwean Government.

“Our visit to ZITF is the beginning of our exploratory work towards building ger commercial and political ties between our two countries.

“The objective is to familiarise ourselves with the fair, find out if the event could be useful to our government’s strategy for building ger economic ties and assess its suitability as vehicle for promoting Danish business sector engagement with Zimbabwe.”

Mr Rasmussen’s visit to ZITF came after he – together with the Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Zimbabwe – attended a recent Nordic Business Association Seminar in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At the symposium, Zimbabwean businesspeople made a presentation on the opportunities available in the country.

Mr Rasmussen said Zimbabwe needed clear economic policies and regulations, especially on indigenisation, to attract foreign direct investment.

He said that the Danish government was keen to promote business partnerships.

Denmark is exploring ways of establishing a ger economic presence in Africa and Zimbabwe is well-placed to be the business hub for the region, said Mr Rasmussen.

“In reaching out to Nordic companies operating in South Africa, our objective was to present a different and more nuanced picture and give them perspective.

“Most of them have a negative perception of the Zimbabwean brand based on the aerse reports in international media.”

Source : The Herald