NEWLY appointed Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava has urged all diplomats and ministry staff to receive training on economic and commercial diplomacy to align themselves with the Second Republic’s economic diplomacy thrust.
In his maiden official engagement with senior management and members of staff in Harare yesterday, Ambassador Shava acknowledged the achievements made by his predecessor, the late Lieutenant-General (Retired) Dr Sibusiso Moyo.
Apart from training in economic diplomacy, Ambassador Shava said Government will also engage retired diplomats to negotiate Zimbabwe’s positions on various issues, as well as the incorporation of the diaspora community in the drive for engagement and re-engagement.
“We need to redouble our efforts to implement the strategy of increasing Zimbabwe’s global visibility, with economic diplomacy remaining our top priority. In this, I encourage all of us, both at head office and at mission, not to lose track of the following principal responsibilities.
“Every officer has a role to play in ensuring that the ministry’s mandate to contribute to the attainment of national economic development objectives is fulfilled. That is why I expect the relevant directorates to make an effort to ensure that, beyond access to the manual, all officers in the ministry, both at head office and at mission, receive some training on economic and commercial diplomacy.
“The entire ministry, both at head office and also at the missions, needs re-orientation, and where necessary, reconfiguration to ensure that we are able and well capacitated to deliver on our mandate. Additionally, close coordination among departments and between head office and missions will be key to our success. Let us foster a culture of teamwork, building on our intergenerational experiences. I strongly discourage silo mentality in the ministry as it is not healthy at all,” he said.
He added that the ministry should leverage on its facilitatory role to attract sustainable investments into Zimbabwe and to ensure that investors are fully briefed on available opportunities and also increase exports to a diversity of markets.
“The cornerstone of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy will thus remain rooted in the concept of friend to all, enemy to none. However, even as we pursue friendships with all, we must never lose sight of our own strategic interests. To doggedly promote other countries’ interests without due regard to our own, would ultimately be at odds with the core tenets of our foreign policy objectives. We must therefore ensure that the strong alliances that we forge, work for the benefit of Zimbabwe’s national interests,” he said.
Turning to the diaspora, Ambassador Shava said Zimbabweans living in foreign lands can play a key role as they are representatives of the country in the countries where they reside.
“We should therefore redouble our efforts to engage them in the socio-economic development of the country. The ministry must aggressively pursue diaspora diplomacy so that the country fully benefits from this body of potentially cost-effective brand ambassadors.”
Beyond the new diaspora policy, Ambassador Shava said the country should make use of ICTs to improve the country’s image.
“Let me just say that in the last year or so, I have been greatly impressed with the progress you have been making in this area. I exhort you to continue on that path and to always remember the importance of timely communication in this social media era that we live in.
“I encourage cooperation between the experienced and inexperienced. Old with the young and the old generations working together in harmony, can the system tap into each group’s strengths and benefit from both worlds.”