Reality Versus Grandiloquence: Some Aspects of Zimbabwe’s International Engagement and Re-Engagement Relations in Post-Mugabe Dispensation
Graduate Scholl of Business and Leadership, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
Department of Economics, Faculty of Commerce, Midlands State University, Harare, Zimbabwe
The adoption of Zimbabwe is Open for Business (ZOB) brand mantra by the Second Republic (SR) in 2017 was a historic epiphany that embodied sanguinity and hope for a new beginning after many years of systemic corruption, economic degrowth and underdevelopment. The country’s foreign and international trade policies metamorphosed from forced isolationism towards realism, pragmatism and neoliberalism as the SR sought to moor the country’s economic convalescence on political and economic reforms, opening up democratic space, and on intensified international engagements and re-engagement. The purpose of this research was to appraise whether Zimbabwe is really open for international economic, trade and political integration after the infamous military coup that disposed Robert Mugabe in 2017. The study was designed to be explanatory where qualitative data was collected using a combination of virtual focus group discussions and desk top review. Our findings show that the SR wasted important opportunities accorded by the departure of President Mugabe to reset international relations and truly open the economy. The study recommends a brew of strategies that include; speeding up key political and economic reforms, intensifying efforts to solve the external debt crisis, increasing political commitment to fight endemic corruption and adopting policies that improve trade openness.