BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
ZIMBABWE has not been invited to the United Kingdom-Africa Investment summit opening on Monday next week, dealing another blow to the government’s re-engagement efforts with the international community.
The summit, which is expected to be hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, brings together businesses, governments and international institutions across Africa.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Acting Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, George Charamba played down the snub saying the UK was a sovereign country which could invite anyone for the summit.
“Is it a must that Zimbabwe must attend that summit? UK is a sovereign country and they invited countries that they like to attend that summit. As for the Commonwealth, it is not decided by one country,” Charamba said.
Analysts view the snub as a message to the Zimbabwe government that the diplomatic relations with the UK government were not all that rosy.
UK-based economics professor, Steve Hanke wrote on his Twitter handle that the British government snubbed Zimbabwe because the country did not respect property rights and public safety.
“On January 20, the UK will host the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. Zimbabwe was not invited. Is Zimbabwe open for business? No! Without strong property rights and public safety, foreign investment is impossible to come by,” Hanke said.
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When the late former President Robert Mugabe was ousted in a military coup in November 2017, the UK initially embraced President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, but recurrent human rights abuses by the Zanu PF government have again strained the two countries’ relations.
Dozens of African heads of state, among them South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta – have confirmed attendance at the London summit being held at the same time as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.