ED builds international dream team
GOVERNMENT will soon unveil an International Advisory Council which will advise President Mnangagwa on global economic issues and push the re-engagement process.
The team will also assist the country in having the US sanctions law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery (Amendment) Act 2018, removed.
Members of the council, some of whom are linked to international finance institutions, could be announced this month.
Industrialists also proposed establishment of a local advisory council during their interface with President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare last Monday.
President Mnangagwa agreed with the proposal and asked the industrialists to second names of their “best brains” to constitute the grouping.
Last week, Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) Mr George Charamba said: “We are working on an international advisory team. So we will have a local advisory business team but there is also going to be an international advisory team.
“By now we are in the final stages and in the next two to three weeks, we should have some announcement of sorts. “We are looking at retirees from IFIs; we are looking at persons from America, we are looking at persons from Britain, persons from China; we are looking at characters from Germany, we are looking at characters from South Africa; and we are also looking at eminent Zimbabwean businesspeople.”
Mr Charamba said some of the people were consulted during the 73rd Ordinary Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, but declined to mention names as consultations were ongoing.
“It worked very well in Rwanda. Rwanda used that to good effect. That business council will not just advise the President on international economic issues, it will also help us in the re-engagement process.
“Essentially, it means helping us develop strategies of rolling back sanctions and also engaging international finance markets for new credit lines,” said Mr Charamba.
At a meeting between President Mnangagwa and Diasporan Zimbabweans in New York in September, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube — who was part of the Zimbabwe delegation to the General Assembly — said the board would have about ten people.
“This is not an unusual path. Pakistan has announced its international advisory board, it was done by the new Prime Minister Imran Khan. Somalia has just set up a board, Somaliland has a board as well. Rwanda has a board. In Nigeria there used to be a board but I’m not so sure now. But this is common practice, we should get the best minds to assist us,” Prof Ncube explained.
As part of President Mnangagwa’s international engagement and re-engagement drive, his administration is lobbying for an end to economic sanctions on Zimbabwe as well as normalisation of relations with multilateral lenders and development partners.
This is in line with his vision to create an upper middle-income by 2030.
US sanctions direct Americans at IFIs to block extension of credit to Zimbabwe, and Prof Ncube is in January 2019 expected to travel to that country as part of the anti-embargo lobby.
Last week, leading businessman and Econet founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa said, “... sanctions should be removed, there’s no justification for them anymore.
“They should be removed. I’ve always been on record to say the sanctions are not justified and now we’re almost 20 years into the sanctions. You can’t have one country operate with its hands tied behind its back.”