Zimbabwe needs to rebuild confidence-US Ambassador

Rebuilding of confidence in the country is central to Zimbabwe’s economic revival, according to US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton.

In a speech delivered at the ZITF Business Conference in Bulawayo yesterday, Wharton said it was vital to revive the economy, which has been in the doldrums for more than a decade.

“All of us who care about Zimbabwe and its future – and that certainly includes the US Government – recognise how important it is to get this great nation’s economy going again. The essential basis for a growing economy is confidence,” said Wharton.

In order to boost confidence, the government must adopt predictable and consistent policies, protect private and intellectual property and ensure fairness in the judiciary.

“Without confidence in these and other basic governance processes, domestic and foreign businesses are reluctant to invest,” he said.

He added: “Clear, transparent, predictable policies will help Zimbabwe to attract the kind of investors and partners that…entrepreneurs need to launch their businesses,” he said.

He urged business and Zimbabwean citizens to also play their part towards economic recovery in such areas as agriculture, mining, tourism, and manufacturing which he described as “the traditional sources of Zimbabwe’s growth”.

Wharton said the country must exploit information, communications and technology (ICT) from whose growth “Zimbabwe is far and away the nation in Africa best able to lead and profit”.

No other nation in Africa has the same powerful combination of intellectual capital, infrastructure and language capability that Zimbabwe has, Wharton said, adding that the country had the potential to be an international player and regional leader in ICT.

He noted that there were numerous ICT opportunities in Africa, among them a growing mobile phone market and the continent’s emergence as an ICT leader.

The ambassador urged Zimbabwe to create computer based applications, computer games and computer-generated graphics for use b movie studios, in addition to analysis and data management for international financial organisations.

“ All of this is value addition of the highest, purest order and most definitely something that Zimbabweans can do today,” he said.

Wharton revealed that his government was sponsoring “Startup Weekend Harare” next month, an event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts would come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups.

In addition, the US embassy was involving young Zimbabweans in the President Obama Young African Leadership Initiative whereby 30 young entrepreneurs would take part in the Washington Fellowship in order to gain exposure, training and the get the chance to access funding for their businesses.

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