Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement drive continues, with Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube visiting Norway early this month as a special envoy of President Mnangagwa.
In Oslo, Prof Ncube met Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on March 5 where they discussed progress on the re-engagement process, debt clearance and support for shocks caused by climate change.
The re-engagement agenda, which is aimed at re-establishing relations with countries that had turned their backs on Harare in the last decade or so, continues to be well received by many countries.
Government is also engaging those countries which have maintained positive relations with Zimbabwe, with the aim of strengthening them.
The re-engagement process has also seen British lawmakers indicating that they are open to have Zimbabwe get a financial rescue package.
Prof Ncube told The Herald yesterday that he held fruitful discussions with Ms Solberg.
“I was an envoy for HE (His Excellency President) Mnangagwa and delivered a message from him to the PM,” he said. “This also follows from HE’s meeting with the PM in New York in September 2019. Relations between the two countries remain strong.”
Prof Ncube said discussions in Norway were held with Ms Solberg, NORFUND, NORAD, Minister for International Development, Minister of Forein Affairs, Bank of Norway (central bank) and a private investment bank.
He said the deliberations focused on progress on Zimbabwe’s re-engagement agenda, policy reforms, debt arrears clearance strategies, development assistance from Norway, and support for shocks from climate change (drought and Cyclone Idai), and private sector investment by Norwegian investors.
The Ambassador of Norway based in Pretoria, who covers Zimbabwe, accompanied Prof Ncube in the meetings and discussions in Norway.
“The Ambassador is an exemplary ambassador, in my view,” said Prof Ncube. “The reception in Norway was very warm, well organised, focused and showed strong relations between the two countries.”
In June last year, Norwegian special envoy Mr Arild Retvedt Øyen said after meeting President Mnangagwa in Harare that his country was impressed by steps being taken by Zimbabwe to promote political stability and ensure investor confidence.
Mr Øyen said the most important thing for investors was building political stability, which is what he was seeing taking place in Zimbabwe.
He had been sent by Ms Solberg with a special message to President Mnangagwa, as a follow-up to their meeting during the previous African Union (AU) Summit in 2019.
Mr Øyen said he had talked about increasing co-operation and explored avenues for working together, including possible economic co-operation.
Norway and Zimbabwe have many common interests dating back to the time the Scandinavian country supported the liberation struggle, and have plenty of opportunities to cooperate in areas such as energy and agriculture.
Norway is looking at taking advantage of the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” policy and grab investment opportunities in the country.
In a bid to attract more investors, the Government has made the maintenance of peace a primary objective.–herald.co.zw