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Diplomat seeks Zim’s bread basket status

NDAMU SANDU

Zimbabwe’s honorary consul to Israel, Ronny Levi Musan, has two short term targets: to pray for peace and bring investments into Zimbabwe and restore its lost bread basket status.

Since his appointment last month, the diplomat has hit the ground running as he moves to lure Israeli companies to invest in Zimbabwe.

Musan presented his letters of commissioning to the Israel government on August 13 and will be based in Tel Aviv.

He will be reporting to Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Egypt Shebba Shumbayaonda.

Zimbabwe’s relations and Israel have not been at an alltime high after the Middle East national closed its Embassy in Harare at the turn of the millennium despite the two countries having diplomatic relations for a long time.

Zimbabwe has been supporting Palestine and at one time wanted the UN to recognise it as a sovereign state.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is on a mission to boost relations with Israel to lure foreign direct investment under the Zimbabwe is open for business thrust.

Last year, President Mnangagwa met Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz during the UN General Assembly, the first such highlevel meeting between the two nations in 20 years.

In an interview with Business Times this week, Musan said his foremost goal is to pray for peace in Zimbabwe, that “may God give peace between the various groups despite the differences of opinion”.

“The second thing is to act with all might to bring investments to Zimbabwe that will drive the development of Zimbabwe in the fields of agriculture, health, water, education, security and technology, and restore Zimbabwe to its glory as the “grain basket” of Africa,” he said.

This has seen the diplomat meeting groups of investors, companies, and scientists in various fields of tourism, agriculture, solar energy, water, health “who want to take part in our work for Zimbabwe”.

But he said that alone is incomplete as there is need to look at the financial aspect to help Zimbabwe fund the projects with “external financial assistance”.

President Mnangagwa is driving the Zimbabwe is open for business thrust which has seen the Southern African economy remove restrictions on company ownership to lure foreign investors after discarding the 51:49% threshold that favoured locals under the economic empowerment legislation.

Musan said Zimbabwe has the natural resources and the human capacity base to reboot the economy.

“If we know how to combine these elements and bring technologies to Zimbabwe, there is no doubt that its economic future will be rosy,” he said, adding that Israel can help Zimbabwe deal with the “political and international issues”.

“It is important to note that in the beginning of Israel, she was a rocky land and many people abandoned her.

But those who remained in her developed her and brought her after 72 years to be a world empire.

There is no reason why this should not happen to Zimbabwe as well. It depends only on good will and strong faith and of course financial assistance,” the diplomat said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to global lockdowns and reduction in trade due to limitations in movements.

For Musan, the pandemic requires development of “smarter and more creative” courses of action that allow one to push the cart forward despite the limitations created by the virus.

“Covid-19 is not going anywhere… We are!!! We are going to work hard to succeed in the task for which I was given the mandate from the President,” he said.

For the past 20 years, Musan has been involved in initiating various projects and representing business companies, government agencies, leaders and churches from around the world, seeking to promote and develop their joint business and interests with Israel.

For the past 18 years, the diplomat has been senior consultant to the Catholic Church in the Holy Land as well as for many other international Christian organisations and ministries around the world, in the field of fundraising and development of international projects.

He has been working in Zimbabwe for five years in deepening relations between local churches and those in Israel.

It was from his works that caught the eyes of President Mnangagwa.

“I believe that the power of Israel and Zimbabwe begins with a connection with God… He gives all the power to the countries to act and grow.

That is why I am glad that I started my relationship with Zimbabwe in a spiritual connection and not in a business or political connection,” said Musan who owns a strategy company that provides strategic advice to politicians, organisations, churches, private and government companies in the areas of public relations, business development and diplomacy.

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