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Minister Shava ropes in media to deliver on strategy

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19 MAY, 2021


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Lovemore Chikova
Development Dialogue

On Friday last week, newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Fredrick Shava held an interface with editors and journalists from various media houses, both local and international, in Harare.


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The idea of the interface was for Minister Shava to lay his vision to the media so that there can be a mutual understanding on not only political diplomacy, but more importantly economic diplomacy which his ministry is pursuing.

It was important that Minister Shava was clear to the journalists on the path that will bring Zimbabwe to a reawakening in terms of realising its potential on the international arena.


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The fact that he devoted the whole afternoon interfacing with the media indicates how the new Minister values journalists in helping shape the Zimbabwean story.

In doing that, the media plays an important role in the rebranding of Zimbabwe as a destination conducive for investment and cooperation with various international partners.


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The media can effectively change perceptions and help create a favourable image for policies being implemented by Government.

The New Dispensation has done a lot since 2017 to uplift the economy and develop the country, and has been reaching out to various countries through its engagement and re-engagement policy.

Everything has gone on well on that front, with the efforts being publicly applauded at various international meetings.

What remains glaring is how some in the international community tend to make their decisions based on perceptions about Zimbabwe, which in most cases are influenced by past prejudices.

Of course, the country has gone through some difficulties in the past two decades, but the New Dispensation has come up with a totally different approach that has seen sectors of the economy being restored to functionality.

Economic fundamentals that enable easy of doing business have also been restored, with stability being realised in foreign currency and prices.

In fact, doing business in Zimbabwe is now predictable and investors can put in their funds knowing very well that they will reap rewards without facing hassles.

Through the setting up of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, everything is now clearly spelt out in terms of incentives investors can expect in various sectors of the economy.

Massive infrastructure development is taking place in many areas, all aimed at changing the country’s status and make it attractive for doing business.

A lot is also happening in tourism.

The National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025), which is guiding the country’s development strategy for next five years, has been hailed as the best strategy for the country’s economic turnaround.

It will be succeeded by National Development Strategy 2, leading to the attainment of an upper middle income by 2030 under Vision 2030.

The Zimbabwe which people used to know before 2017 has since been replaced by a forward looking country with a completely different style of doing business.

And the media is important in documenting these success stories.

Takeaways from Minister Shava’s address:

Media

The media plays an important strategic role in articulating any foreign policy.

“While the conduct of foreign policy in Zimbabwe is driven by the chief diplomat, His Excellency the President, and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and other State actors, the Fourth Estate, as the media is usually referred to, because of its explicit capacity for advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues in the world, is a fundamental piece of the puzzle,” he said.

“It is the lens through which Zimbabwe is viewed globally. Therefore, the Ministry regards the media as a very important arm, which wields tremendous power and influence that plays a pertinent nation-building function of enlightening and educating the public on current developments, programmes and policies.”

Minister Shava said he believed in the principle of the media being an ally in public diplomacy that provides opportunities to communicate with the public and the world at large.

Engagement with both public and private media will be at the heart of the ministry’s communications strategy, providing accurate and timely information.

“Together, we can build the Zimbabwe we want,” said Minister Shava.

“We, therefore, expect the media to disseminate correct, factual and objective information to the consumers. Going forward, I hope to interact more with all of you as we endeavour to tell a positive and constructive story to the world about our beloved Zimbabwe.”

Vision

The overall vision of the ministry, Minister Shava said was to continue promoting President Mnangagwa’s foreign policy directives that he laid down in November 2017.

The main pillars of the policies are:

(i) Zimbabwe would be a friend to all and an enemy of none

(ii) Zimbabwe would pursue a policy of affirmation, engagement and re-engagement

(iii) Zimbabwe is Open for Business.

Strategies

The Ministry’s strategies will include:

(i) increasing global visibility

(ii) building strong alliances at both bilateral and multilateral levels

(iii) boosting attractiveness by building a positive image to the outside world

(iv) economic diplomacy thrust of the foreign policy

Responsibilities

He said the Ministry will redouble efforts towards fulfilling the primary economic diplomacy role of facilitating economic and commercial exchanges between Zimbabwe and strategic partners.

“In so doing, our end goal is to position our business sector to increase exports to a diversity of markets and attract sustainable investments from strategic countries to Zimbabwe,” he said.

The responsibilities are:

(i) to enhance Zimbabwe’s reputation as a reliable economic, trade and investment cooperation partner.

(ii) promote the country as an attractive tourism destination.

(iii) to promote and expand Zimbabwe’s exports of a diversity of goods and services to a diversity of markets.

(iv) promote and facilitate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the various sectors of the economy, including infrastructure development projects.

(v) ensure all work contributes to the attainment of national economic development objectives.

(vi) to strengthen Zimbabwe’s relations with the international community.

(vii) tap into the preferential market access opportunities in Africa under SADC, COMESA, the Tripartite Free Trade Area, and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

(viii) take advantage of duty-free access to markets in Europe and the UK.

(ix) focus on export growth to offset the negative impact of sanctions to a greater extent.

Engagement and

re-engagement

Minister Shava said the Ministry will strive to end the country’s isolation through continued engagement and re-engagement with all members of the international community.

“Rebranding our country’s battered image, consolidating old friendships and opening new economic frontiers of mutual beneficial co-operation will thus remain a critical foreign policy objective,” he said.

“Through building strong alliances, Zimbabwe has great potential to influence global developments, if only we can strategically harness our resources.”

Diaspora

Minister Shava said the Second Republic valued the contributions of the Diaspora and was keen to engage them in all aspects of the development of the country.

He said the Zimbabwe Diaspora was a force to reckon with as evidenced by the increased remittances that totalled more than one billion in 2020.

“In light of this huge contribution to the general growth of the economy and the betterment of the livelihood of our people, the Ministry is mandated to promote and protect their interests and welfare,” said Minister Shava.

“The Ministry will thus aggressively pursue Diaspora diplomacy. Key to our engagement thrust with our Diaspora, is the aspect of bridging the confidence and trust gap that had developed over many years.”

lchikovahh@yahoo.com


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Politics

South Sudan president announces new parliament

South Sudan leader Kiir decrees new parliament

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By AFP


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Published: May 11, 2021 07:13 PM

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir announced a new parliament on Monday including lawmakers from opposing sides of the country’s civil war as part of a 2018 peace accord, state television reported.


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A new legislative body was a condition of the 2018 accord between himself and Vice President Riek Machar, for years on opposition sides during the five-year civil war that left 380,000 people dead and four million displaced.

“Reconstituting” the country’s parliament had been due in February 2020, but had still not taken place, prompting the ire of the opposition. 


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Kiir dissolved the previous parliament on Saturday ahead of the change.

A decree by Kiir was then read out on the South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation on Monday, including the names of the national assembly legislators. In accordance with the accord, the new assembly will number 550 lawmakers, up from the previous 400.


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Of these 332 deputies were chosen by Kiir, 128 by Machar, and 90 others by signatory parties, in line with the peace deal. 

The decree did not mention the upper house state council which was also dissolved late Saturday. The dissolution of parliament came on the eve of a visit to the capital Juba by US special envoy to South Sudan Donald Booth.

Kiir and Machar formed a coalition government in February 2020.

However few provisions of the truce have been honored, and analysts have warned of the threat of a return to war. Brutal communal conflicts continue in the last six months of 2020.


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Governance

Jacob Zuma’s corruption trial over arms deal pushed back

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15:07 17 May


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Nomsa Maseko

BBC Southern Africa correspondent


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The corruption trial of South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma has been pushed to 26 May where a formal plea will be entered.

He is expected to plead not guilty.


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Mr Zuma’s supporters gathered outside the Pietermaritzburg High Court ahead of his appearance.

The former president faces 16 counts of corruption relating to a multi-billion-dollar arms deal.


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A total of 217 witnesses are expected to testify against him.

The case centres on an arms deal with French arms company Thales that was meant to modernise South Africa’s defence in the late 1990s.

Both Mr Zuma and the company have denied the charges which include fraud, racketeering and money laundering.


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Diaspora

FULL LIST: 8 Zimbabwean-born Win British Elections

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A total of 8 United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean-born politicians have won top political posts in the British elections in the last 12 months.


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So far, two Zimbabwean-born have won the mayorship posts, one (Maggie Chapman who last week announced her oath in pure ChiShona) won the MP post while the rest are councillors.

Their ages range from 22 with the oldest being 56-year-old. The youngest, Nicolle Moyo last week told ZimEye she hadn’t even graduated when she discovered she has won the polls in the just-ended elections.


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Below is the full list so far, comprising 6 women and 2 men:

  1. Amanda Tandi, 47 -. Councillor, District Of Knebworth.
  2. Nicolle Nkazimulo Moyo, 22 – Councillor. Peterborough.
  3. Lorraine Chirisa, 45 – Councillor, Northampton.
  4. Tafadzwa Chikoto, 45 – Councillor, Oakley, Corby
  5. Kate Nicoll, 33. – Mayor: Belfast.
  6. Alice Mpofu Coles, 56 – Councillor, Whitley, Reading.
  7. Adam Jogee, 30. – Mayor, Harringey.
  8. Maggie Chapman, 41, MP for North East Scotland.


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