New UK, Canadian, Swedish, Saudi envoys present credentials

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday received credentials from new ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Sweden, with all of them pledging to strengthen relations and co-operation with Zimbabwe in various fields, as the country’s engagement and re-engagement policy continues to scale new heights.

Speaking in separate interviews after individually meeting President Mnangagwa in closed door meetings at State House in Harare, the four diplomats expressed their countries’ preparedness to scale-up relations with Zimbabwe on all fronts, giving impetus to the Second Republic’s “friend to all and enemy to none” diplomatic thrust.

Following his meeting with the President, the UK’s incoming Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Peter Vowles, who spoke in Shona fluently whilst presenting his credentials to the Head of State, said Harare and London enjoyed a “deep personal connection”.

Ambassador Vowles said the two countries were looking to enhance already existing co-operation in various sectors.

Mr Peter Vowles And his Excellency President Mnangagwa

“I just presented my credentials and it’s a huge privilege to represent the United Kingdom in Zimbabwe and I am looking forward to working with Government and Zimbabweans across the country.

“The UK and Zimbabwe enjoy successful partnerships in a range of areas such as trade and investment, renewable energy, health, education, arts, sport and at the heart of these partnerships lie the deep personal connection between the UK and Zimbabwe. 

“The President and I spoke about all of these issues and how much we can do to strengthen the UK-Zimbabwe relationship,” he said.

Amb Vowles revealed that he had spent the formative years of his diplomatic career living in Zimbabwe in the 1990s, prior to his posting as Ambassador.

He lived in Mudzi where he was a teacher at Chifamba Secondary School, before his stints in Murehwa, Bulawayo and Harare.  

“When I lived in Zimbabwe before, I was fortunate enough to spend the early years of my career living in Mudzi, then Murehwa, Bulawayo and then in Harare. The Zimbabweans I met generously shared their country and culture so I am delighted to be back. 

“I learnt first hand about the intelligence, the ingenuity, the resilience and the sense of humour Zimbabweans are so rightfully known for so it’s a pleasure to be back in Zimbabwe,” said Amb Vowles.

Saudi Arabia’s incoming Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Ali bin Saad Al-Qahtani, said Riyadh was ready to explore a plethora of investment opportunities with Harare, while describing relations with President Mnangagwa as “great”.

Saudi Arabia is one of the big capital countries that have heeded the President’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra, since scaling up relations with the Middle East country in 2020.   “It was my pleasure to meet His Excellency and we actually have a great relationship and I am looking forward to play my role as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia. We would like to enhance the relationship between the two countries.

“There are a lot of things we discussed including investment opportunities so we will do our best from both sides.

“We are ready to listen from both sides about any opportunities,” he said.

Canada’s new Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Alder Aristilde, said his main mission to Zimbabwe was to bolster bilateral relations between Harare and Ottawa.


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