US/Africa summit: lost opportunity

HARARE - Next week, United States President Barack Obama hosts a landmark US/Africa Investment summit in Washington.

The summit brings together 47 heads of states from Africa and business leaders in a bid to  widen US trade, development and security ties with Africa.

The summit will be held on August 5 and 6.

However, there is no place for Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe although separate invitations have been extended to the local business community.

Mugabe joins leaders from Egypt, Sudan and Madagascar who have been barred from attending the summit.

The exclusion of Mugabe from leaders attending the important summit is a huge blow to Zimbabwe whose economy is engulfed in serious problems.

More critically, it is a reminder to all and sundry that Zimbabwe has a lot more to do in mending its relations with the US.

The fact that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is among those travelling to Washington, despite facing serious international crime charges, while viewed with disdain by friends of Zimbabwe, underlines how Harare’s relations with Washington remain at an all-time low.

The US continues to view Mugabe’s administration as headstrong in its attempt to be re-admitted into the club of acceptable nations.

But without a doubt, Zimbabwe is missing out on a very important summit which holds hopes for many African countries.

The Washington summit would have been an opportunity for Mugabe to plead his case for international support.

The US holds the aces and given its repeated regrets over Zimbabwe’s suppression of democracy and people’s fundamental freedoms, this summit would have clearly sent a message to western and American investors that the Obama administration has lifted its embargo on us.

Part of the reason why Zimbabwe has struggled to attract meaningful investment is due to the influence of the US and United Kingdom.

It is quite evident that the Look East policy has not yielded much results and the West and the US remain attractive options which are, sadly, proving to be a bridge too far for Mugabe and his administration to cross.

Any attempts to downplay the significance of this summit and listen to choruses of solidarity from the usual neighbouring countries, would be missing the point.

Instead, Zimbabwe has to demonstrate that it is ready to be part if the progressive world and has binned its behaviour of trampling on its citizens’ rights.

The past has finally caught up with us and we need to let go our indignant behaviour towards those who seek to help us.

Comments (3)

The writer of this article is very naïve and simplistic!!...he/she should read and research widely to understand the geo-political shenanigans played by USA!! The Obama summit is meant to dilute Chinese influence in Africa, so there is nothing "landmark" about it! Where the writer clearly loses the plot is expecting Zim to be invited to the Obama summit when the very same Yankees have just renewed their unjust & unjustified sanctions against us!! May I ask: despite Obama's hereditary links to Kenya, exactly what has the East African nation really benefited?!

ZVOKWADI - 29 July 2014

The writer is misinformed about USA

Kollen - 31 July 2014

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