Home » Governance » Germany Envoy Insists On Rule of Law, Economic Reforms

ZIMBABWE needs to fully implement its new constitution and respect the rule of law if the country is to attract investment and international support to reverse its economic decline, a Germany envoy has said.

Zimbabwe owes Germany about US$739 million which Harare has failed to repay since relations collapsed after the imposition of sanctions more than a decade ago.

On Tuesday Germany director for sub-Saharan Africa and Sahel regions, Georg Schmidt, said his country would be prepared to re-engage with Harare if the local government showed a commitment to reform.

“A successful process of constitutional alignment as well as economic reform will also have positive impact on the improvement of Germany’s economic relationship with Zimbabwe,” Schmidt told a press conference in Harare.

“Should the positive signals in the process of constitutional alignment and economic reform prove to be sustainable Germany is prepared to enter into an open dialogue with the Zimbabwean government on ways out of the economic crisis, including the burdensome debt problem. I came to Harare in this spirit.”

Zimbabwe adopted a new constitution almost two years ago but its implementation has been delayed with the government citing financial constraints.

Schmidt who was in the country on a two-day visit at the invitation of a German think tank to attend a conference on the progress of the new constitution.

He said observing the rule of law was critical in attracting investors to the country.

“Economic interaction needs legal protection,” he said.

“Foreign investors, in particular, need guarantees and clarity concerning their investments. Economics can never be separated from the political situation so political stability and economic prosperity go hand in hand.

“It is important in political terms that people can feel that they are protected by the law but it’s also important in economic terms because it is the thing that foreign investors look at before they engage.”

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who also attended the press conference, said “We need to approach the whole issue with an open mind and spirit.

“As we go, we will see what speed we can make towards restoration of relations.”

The minister said the US$739 million Zimbabwe owed Germany was reflective of the level of economic interaction between the two countries before the imposition of sanctions.

The European Union (EU) imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe more than a decade ago over allegations of human rights abuses and electoral fraud, charges denied by President Robert Mugabe.

The sanctions have largely been removed with Brussels, this year, giving Zimbabwe US$270 million for to support health and agriculture among other sectors.

Meanwhile, Schmidt said Germany was prepared to assist Zimbabwe in the repayment of its $7 billion debt to multilateral institutions if Harare shows a commitment to implementing reforms.

During his two-day visit to Zimbabwe, Schmidt held meetings with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, treasury chief Patrick Chinamasa, war veterans minister, Christopher Mutsvangwa, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as members of the opposition.

Source : New Zimbabwe