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UK trade mission jets in

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A UNITED KINGDOM trade mission is expected in Zimbabwe today to explore trade and investment opportunities in the country.

OWN CORRESPONDENT

The visit by the UK team is expected to strengthen business links between the two countries, an official has said.

The theme of the mission is “Applying UK Expertise in Project Finance, Infrastructure and Development to Support the Implementation of Zimasset”.

The delegates will meet senior officials in government, parastatals, captains of industry, international donors and British businesses already trading in Zimbabwe.

Ambassador Catriona Laing said trade and investment was vital for Zimbabwe’s development and the mission wanted to strengthen business links and to show their commitment in the country.

“To translate interest into investment, the government of Zimbabwe will need to reassure investors that their assets will be secure – for example by clarifying its indigenisation policy,” she said.

The delegation will be led by Alex Lambeth, director of British Expertise, a leading trade organisation. Four other delegates are from UK firms with substantial regional experience across many of the key infrastructure sectors identified by the ZimAsset blueprint, such as water, sanitation, energy, power and transport.

Following the mission, a report detailing opportunities will be published and launched to interested firms in London and Johannesburg. This is the first such mission to Zimbabwe in many years.

Relations between London and Harare have been sour since 2002 when President Robert Mugabe won a controversial presidential election. The UK and other European Union (EU) countries imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe citing a poor human rights record.

However, there are indications that the EU would lift the embargo soon after relations began to thaw during the duration of the inclusive government that ended last year.

Both Zimbabwe and the UK have expressed willingness to improve their relations.

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