Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Enrico de Agostini, said the peaceful transition witnessed in Zimbabwe is not an end itself but has to be complimented by credible elections and a clear vision if the country is to turn around its fortunes.
He said this in his address at a well attended and organised luncheon held at the Italian embassy in Harare to mark the country’s National Day.
“Part and parcel of this transition is a peaceful, credible and transparent electoral process which will be crucial to set this country onto the path of economic recovery,” said Ambassador Agostini.
He said a vision that stretches beyond the elections and reconciles the need to empower ordinary Zimbabweans was needed.
“As much as we are all excited about them, the elections are only one peace of the puzzle, one step towards moving on. Economic recovery won’t happen overnight, investors won’t flock to the streets of Harare just yet.
“Not unless crucial economic reforms are implemented (not just announced). Slogans signal intention. And the intention is the right one. The government has shifted from the myopic, the shortsighted 51 to 49% rule, from ‘Don’t sup with the whites’ to ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ but the substance of this slogan can be fully realized only once Zimbabwe ratifies BIPPAS, international obligations that it undertook 20 years ago, solves the problem of the security of land tenure, lowers the costs of doing business and abandons the culture of state intervention,” said Ambassador Agostini.
He said if Zimbabwe truly wants to be open for business, it must concentrate more on actual economic reforms and less on the so-called ‘mega deals’.
Early this year the Italian Embassy organised a visit of over 40 Zimbabwean businesses and institutions to Italy which renewed business interest between the two countries.
“Italians were very excited to hear about Zimbabwe’s economic potential and Zimbabweans discovered an economy that is complementary to their own in agribusiness, in food processing and in infrastructural development,” said Ambassador Agostini.