Mnangagwa Charms International Community
...does not regret the land reform
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to fix Zimbabwe’s “poisoned” political environment and its shattered economy saying the country is now ready for international investors.
Mnangagwa made the remarks during his maiden appearance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
He said despite Investors’ fears of inefficient bureaucracy, corruption, and severely broken down infrastructure, Zimbabwe stands ready to do business with previous “enemies”
“On my day of inauguration, I mentioned economics and trade cooperation would be my priority in Zimbabwe, rather than politics, in order to catch up with the region,” said Mnangagwa.
“Zimbabwe has lagged behind in many areas as a result of isolation for past 16, 18 years. Now we are saying to the world,Zimbabwe is now open for business.”
“To do so, we need to look at all the legislation that has been constraining business coming into Zimbabwe to improve the ease of doing business,” he said, citing the country’s land reform and indigenization laws, which have forced international investors out of the mineral-rich country for many years,” he added.
Mnangagwa faces a huge task of repairing the country’s battered economy and bringing the country back into the international community after years of isolation and economic sanctions.
He said his priority is now centered around embracing the international economy and modernizing infrastructure, pledging zero tolerance against corruption while doing everything possible to deal with the country’s debts.
Asked whether people could trust the word of a man who closely worked with former President Robert Mugabe for more than five decades, Mnangagwa said, “Those who want to live in the past can continue to live in the past. But those who want to see the future, where we are going, can look at what we are doing.”
On land reform, the president said compensation would be paid for developments on property seized by the government in controversial land grabs.
He however added that his government will not pay anything on the land itself as it does not regret the, sometimes violent, land grabs.
Under Mugabe’s program of land reform, forced land seizures from white farmers resulted in serious economic and social consequences.
Large-scale commercial agriculture ,the backbone of the country’s economy , was replaced by subsistence farming, hyper-inflation set in and the country was forced to dump its currency and adopt the US dollar in 2009.
“We don’t regret the actions we took, We fought a war of liberation for more than 15 years to regain our land ,it was a situation where 1% of the population owned 75% of the land,” he said.
The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has called Zimbabwe’s economy one of the most fragile in the world.