Harare (New Ziana) – In the clearest sign yet that Zimbabwe was shaking off decades old Western-led ostracisation in the global community of nations, the United States has invited the country to a US-Africa summit next month in Washington, a multilateral event it was regularly excluded from, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.
The West, angered by Zimbabwe’s land reforms under which the government compulsorily acquired excess farmland from white farmers to resettle landless blacks, imposed sweeping economic and other sanctions on the country, and drove efforts to diplomatically isolate it in the world.
The sanctions crippled the country, causing economic damage estimated by the government at around US$100 billion, and forcing mass emigration to neighbouring countries and abroad.
As part of its ostracisation campaign, the West cut diplomatic engagement with Zimbabwe, and banned its top government officials, including President Mnangagwa, from traveling to its member states.
It even excluded the country in multilateral engagements such as Africa-European Union and US-Africa summits, prompting the Second Republic, when it assumed office in 2017, to seek a reset in relations with all nations, including the hostile West.
The foreign policy shift by the government saw it engaging all nations, particularly the West, to iron out differences, and open a new page in relations.
Cautiously, the West has responded by slowly re-embracing Zimbabwe, and lifting some of the sanctions, and resuming bilateral and multilateral engagement, and aid flows to the country.
In an address to the nation on Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had been invited to the December US-Africa summit in Washington, a gathering the country had long been excluded from.
He said this was growing testimony of the correctness of his government’s foreign policy stance of Zimbabwe being ‘friend to all, and enemy to none.’
“Zimbabwe’s foreign policy of engagement and re-engagement, as well as our thrust to be a friend to all and an enemy to none continues to bear fruit,” he said.
“Our country welcomes the invitation to attend the US-Africa summit in December 2022 and emphasis remains on dialogue and multilateralism as the best option to resolve today’s global challenges,” he added.
African leaders will gather in Washington next month to engage the US in talks on issues of mutual economic benefit, and other areas of co-operation.
President Mnangagwa paid tribute to southern African countries, and Africa in general, for standing behind Zimbabwe during the time of its isolation and complementing its campaign for the West to lift sanctions on the country.
He also attributed the recent election of the country, and Zimbabweans, to top leadership positions of global institutions such as the Pan African Parliament, the Telecommunications Development Bureau of the International Telecommunications Union and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, to the government’s new foreign policy thrust.
“A sanctions free Zimbabwe stands ready to do more within the commity of nations,” he said.