UK targets local energy sector

British Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Mr Andrew Mitchell

THE United Kingdom is keen to boost trade with Zimbabwe and invest in the country’s vast renewable energy sector.

Through its Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Mr Andrew Mitchell, the UK said it is knocking off some hurdles that were impending optimum trade between the two countries.

This renewed interest from the UK follows the success of President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement thrust which has seen formally frosty relations between Zimbabwe and its erstwhile coloniser thawing.

While responding to Ms Ruth Jones, the shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) who asked about plans to promote economic co-operation between the UK and Zimbabwe, Mr Mitchell told the House of Commons this week that his country is seeking to open markets for Zimbabwe agriculture products.

“Through our Economic Partnership Agreement, Zimbabwean companies have duty-free and quota-free access to the UK market, and we are particularly focused on supporting Zimbabwean exports of horticulture produce like blueberries and peas, increasing choices for UK consumers.

“We are also working to reduce barriers to UK investment in renewable energy and our technical assistance to strengthen the policy environment is unlocking new investment into independent solar power projects.”

Mr Mitchell is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield since 2001.

A member of the Conservative Party, Mr Mitchell was previously the MP for Gedling from 1987 to 1997.

Analysts said the interest from the UK shows that the former colonial power does not want to be left behind as other major world powers such as China, Russia and India have been investing in Zimbabwe.

“We are now living in a multi-polar world and Britain is acutely aware of the fact that global competition for natural resources and investment is the new economic and financial battleground,” political analyst Mr Moses Kuvarega said.

He added that the 2023 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe are a case closed and the world is moving on working with the Zanu PF-led Government.

“One doesn’t need rocket science to know and appreciate that the next harmonised elections in Zimbabwe will be held in 2028. The world has moved on. Little wonder that Britain is already eyeing investment in the energy sector. Green and renewable energy is the new buzzword in the energy sector,” Mr Kuvarega said.

An assortment of British firms are keen to tap into diverse business opportunities in Zimbabwe and have pitched investments worth over US$5 billion in the energy sector alone, while others have expressed interest in other key sectors of the economy.

Herald

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