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Invest home, President challenges Diaspora

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Invest home, President challenges Diaspora

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PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has challenged Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to self- introspect and do something to develop their country while still living abroad.

Highlighting achievements and opportunities available in the country, President Mnangagwa, who was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Zimbabwe could be developed by its people whether within the country or in the diaspora.

The Diaspora community in Switzerland and nearby countries had requested to meet President Mnangagwa, and as he has always done whenever he visits foreign countries, he agreed to meet them in Zurich yesterday.

President Mnangagwa reminded them that the reasons for their leaving Zimbabwe cannot change the fact that they were Zimbabweans and should participate in its economic development.

“I challenge you to remember you have a home, you have a history. Ask what you can do for your country and community,” he said.

Reiterating his “nyika inovakwa nevene vayo” philosophy, President Mnangagwa said just as other nationalities build their own countries, Zimbabwe shall be built by Zimbabweans.

He gave examples of roads, dams, and the production of food crops as some of the areas where domestic resources and expertise were utilised successfully.

Appreciating the role that the Diaspora community plays as both ambassadors of Zimbabwe as well as sending money for the upkeep of relatives back home, President Mnangagwa said there was more they could do to contribute.

The President said his administration wishes to embrace those in the Diaspora and have a database of skills and experience that could be leveraged for economic development and growth.

Further, he pledged to promote and protect the interests of those in the Diaspora, something he said was “critically important”.

President Mnangagwa cited examples of others in Diaspora communities such as the United Arab Emirates, who expressed interest in investing back home and were assisted to access 15 hectares of land to set up a state-of-the-art medical facility in Victoria Falls.

In March, President Mnangagwa and his delegation were in Dubai, the UAE, and met many Zimbabweans.

He said he had a “fantastic time exchanging opportunities available back home as well as those we could tap from that region”.

On those keen to venture into agriculture, President Mnangagwa said land will soon be availed to those who are serious about farming.

While pointing out there was no more land to repossess from white farmers, the President said the land audit had revealed that there was still some land that has either not been taken up, under-utilised or belongs to absentee owners.

“That land can be made available to those serious about utilising it,” he said.

Further, President Mnangagwa revealed plans to industrialise rural areas, a programme aimed at stemming rural-urban migration.

In that vein, a tomato processing plant has since been established in Mutoko.

“That’s the future, rural industrialisation. The projects which our young people are putting forward for Government to implement are more than what we are able to implement in terms of resources.”

President Mnangagwa said the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe had made it turn to its own resources for economic growth and development.

“We have been under sanctions for two decades but we have said we should stop crying that the country is under sanctions but adopt the philosophy ‘eat what you kill’,” he said.

The President said Zimbabwe needed to use own resources and prioritise what is locally available such as people, land and water.

“With those three, we can feed ourselves.”

President Mnangagwa said as much as climate change had become a huge hindrance towards attaining food self-sufficiency, efforts were being made to climate-proof the agriculture sector.

Because of climate change, the Second Republic has put in place a programme to build dams and 150 000 hectares are now under irrigation to boost food security.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe must put 175 000 hectares under irrigation to enjoy all-weather food security.

“We see no challenge to that goal and we are on track,” he said.

Zimbabwe used to produce two months cover of wheat and import the balance from Ukraine but was now producing 11 months cover as of last year.

Members of the Diaspora community who had the opportunity to contribute and ask questions highlighted their areas of interest and concerns which President Mnangagwa and his delegation promised to look into.

President Mnangagwa left Switzerland for Harare last night and is expected to arrive this morning.Herald

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