The government has explained the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ assumption of an economic development facilitative role, saying the shift is in line with adoption of economic development as the priority focus.

The former Ministry of Foreign Affairs largely played the political diplomacy role, but under the second republic the new ministry with an added mandate of international trade.

Speaking during the opening session of a five day strategy review workshop of the ministry underway at ZIPAM in Darwendale today, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade should engage and re-engage with the global community to ensure Zimbabwe sheds off its former pariah status imposed isolation and enjoy the warm embrace by all progressive members of the international community.

“The ministry is now expected to play a more pronounced role in terms of investment and trade facilitation hence the addition of the international trade obligation. It was given the responsibility to oversee the international engagements and the trade promotion activities of ZIMTRADE which had been an affiliate of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce,” said Dr Sibanda in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Solomon Mhlanga, the Principal Director in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Dr Sibanda went on to outline the role of ambassadors in the second republic, saying they should focus on wooing investors and business delegations to come and scout for business opportunities in Zimbabwe.

“International trade has replaced empire building and military conquest as the surest road to national wealth creation and influence,” Dr Sibanda also said.

The five day strategy review workshop brought together all Zimbabwean heads of diplomatic missions from around the world to ensure they are in sync with the goals of vision 2030.

The strategic workshop will be addressed by several government ministries and government arms that include the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Public Service Commission and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.