Outgoing United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray says American businesses were keen on investing in the country despite that Zimbabwe was under targeted sanctions.
Speaking in Harare at the US National Day commemorations on Wednesday for the last time as his country’s top envoy to Zimbabwe, Ray said there were numerous misconceptions concerning trade with American firms.
“At the October 2011 Doing Business in Zimbabwe forum in Washington DC, I made a point of saying, ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and I encouraged US companies to take a closer look,” Ray said.
“Many businesspeople there believed that US sanctions prevented trade with Zimbabwe. This is not the case, and my team here has been proactive in reaching out to US firms to clarify misperceptions about our policies. Frequently, these simple clarifications — an email to a US firm or a new web page dispelling the myths about our sanctions — are all that is needed to make the sale happen.”
The US envoy added that the embassy had received a number of enquiries from firms that were interested in investing in the country.
“With rapid growth in Zimbabwe’s economy for the last three years, my embassy has seen an accelerated pace of enquiries from US businesses interested in exploring new opportunities here,” he said. Ray also said that the US and Zimbabwe had built strong ties in the area of health.
The embassy, through the US President’s Emergency Plan For Aids Relief (Pepfar), worked closely with the Health ministry to support 80 000 HIV positive Zimbabweans and those on anti-retroviral treatment.