by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE is to reduce its global diplomatic missions as part of the new government’s measures to cut operational costs and rebrand the country’s image.
According to The Herald, Sibusiso Moyo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, confirmed the move to downsize from 46 embassies.
He said having a smaller number of diplomatic missions would ensure efficiency, service delivery and enhance the mending of relations strained with the international community after decades of the authoritarian rule by Robert Mugabe.
The military led his ouster from power last November.
The Southern African country has been battling to service many of its diplomatic missions worldwide due to economic challenges.
Embarrassingly, some of the embassies failed to pay rentals and salaries for diplomats on time.
Moyo said the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa was mobilising resources to settle arrears, salaries, rentals and other costs to its various embassies before a decision to downsize is finalized.
“We are reviewing the position of all embassies and it’s high time they must perform in a measurable manner. Government incurs a lot of costs in running embassies so they must justify their existence,” Moyo told state media.
He added: “Because of financial constraints, they can be served from elsewhere, we will also look into that, but the corporate and private sector should also help as they benefit from work derived from embassies.”
Moyo said the remaining embassies would prioritise on representing the country, negotiating bilateral deals and handling disputes with host countries.
Patrick Chinamasa, the finance minister, has approved Mnangagwa’s call to reduce the number of embassies in line with the country’s dire financial position.
– CAJ News