New British ambassador for Zimbabwe

The UK has appointed a new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Wendy Campbell Laing, who will replace the outgoing diplomat, Deborah Bronnert.

Catriona Wendy Campbell Laing
Catriona Wendy Campbell Laing

Laing will assume office in September, according to a statement by the UK Foreign Office issued on Wednesday. Bronnert will be moved to another diplomatic appointment which the office did not disclose.

An economist, Laing has spent much of her career in Africa where she served in Botswana, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia.

She joined the foreign office in 2012 when she was posted to Afghanistan. The incoming ambassador hailed her new appointment to Zimbabwe.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as British Ambassador to Zimbabwe. It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with Zimbabwe on issues of importance to both countries and to continue to deepen our partnership,” she said.

Laing is married to Clive David Nicholas Bates and has an international career spanning 28 years.

She started off as a planning officer at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK think tank on humanitarian and international development , where she spent three years in Botswana between 1986 and 1989.

She subsequently worked as an economist for the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) in East and West Africa.

Laing then transferred to the United Nations (UN) Mission in Somalia as the head of the world body’s Development Office and subsequently worked for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) as an economic advisor in the Latin America, Caribbean and Atlantic region.

Between 1996 and 1998, she was the DFID team leader in the European Union (EU) and International Economics Policy Department before switching to head the Eastern Europe and Western Hemisphere Policy Department, and then the DFID Globalisation White Paper Team.

Between 2001 and 2005, Laing was a deputy director in the British Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and, for the following two years, was the DFID head in the International Division Advisory Department before taking a post as the DFID head in Sudan between 2006 and 2009.

She worked as the director of Human Rights in the British Ministry of Justice from 2009 to 2012, after which she transferred to the foreign office where she assumed office as the British civilian representative in southern Afghanistan.

Post published in: News
  1. ChimurengaBoy

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