‘Prioritise economic diplomacy’

16 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
‘Prioritise economic diplomacy’ Harare’s exports to China, the world’s second-largest economy after the US, increased by 202 percent to US$264 million from US$87,5 million in the same period last year, according to the national trade promotion and development body, ZimTrade.

Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter

SPEAKER of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda has urged parliamentarians to promote economic diplomacy over political diplomacy to accelerate trade between Zimbabwe and other countries as that will enhance the country’s competitiveness as an investment destination.

Adv Mudenda said this during an induction workshop for the Members of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Bulawayo yesterday.

He said the committee stands at the forefront of parliamentary diplomacy charged with the responsibility of steering Zimbabwe’s foreign policy and international relations from the parliamentary perspective.

Adv Mudenda said as the stewards of the nation’s oversight diplomatic endeavours, the committee’s role should be transformative and dynamic in contributing towards Zimbabwe’s political stature in the multilateral body polity ecosystem.

“There is now a shift from political diplomacy to a greater accent on economic diplomacy through accelerated trade between Zimbabwe and outside countries.

“This committee should, therefore, exercise greater oversight in this regard.
“In this vein, the Committee working together with the Ministry, should endeavour to ensure that Zimbabwe is a competitive trade destination.

“Working with other select committees, this committee should contribute towards Parliament’s legislative role so that Parliament can make laws for peace, order and good governance of Zimbabwe, which is a condition precedent for a thriving business environment in the country,” said Adv Mudenda.

He said the Portfolio Committee has a paramount role in the engagement and re-engagement mantra, which underpins the sphere of international country’s foreign policy.

President Mnangagwa has declared that Zimbabwe is an enemy to none and a friend to all.
“Parliament is entrusted with the responsibility to promote the existence of cordial relations between Zimbabwe and other states in the spirit of multilateralism, which respects each other country’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.

“That is why Section 12 of the Constitution bolsters our foreign policy posture, which calls for the peaceful co-existence among states.

“The foreign policy of Zimbabwe must be based on the principles of promoting and protecting the national interests of Zimbabwe, respect for international law, peaceful co-existence with other nations and the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means,” said Adv Mudenda.

Cognisant of the committee’s responsibility, which encompasses the promotion of international trade, the Speaker of Parliament urged the parliamentarians to be adept in economic diplomacy as there are different trade protocols.

These include the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Africa Agenda 2063, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa and Sadc Free Trade Area.
He said the anchoring of these trade protocols should motivate them to find out what their impact is on Zimbabwe’s quest for enhanced economic diplomacy.

“You will have to find out whether or not Zimbabwe’s legal framework champions the ease of doing business within and outside Zimbabwe. Look at the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (Zida). Is it aggressively promoting economic diplomacy through synergised leverages of our embassies abroad?

“In this regard, your committee should be more conversant with Zimbabwe’s Trade Policies such as the National Trade Policy and Export Promotion Strategy (2020-2023) – now we are in 2024, what is the successor policy? Furthermore, the Committee must know our trade balance sheet with other countries,” said Adv Mudenda.

Also in attendance was the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister Sheillah Chikomo and the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Albert Chimbindi. —@nyeve14

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