In November, the Zimbabwean people, led by our youth, went to the streets peacefully and joyfully, determined to have their voices heard. They called for freedom, progress and a new way of doing things. Though supported by the military, this was a popular, peaceful revolution. Watching the events unfold from exile, I was deeply proud of my fellow Zimbabweans.
In a major turning point in our history, President Robert Mugabe resigned and the first transition of power in 37 years followed. On Nov. 24, I took office as the new president of Zimbabwe. In the past three months, I have heard the call of my people. I share their vision and am committed to delivering.
I am working toward building a new Zimbabwe: a country with a thriving and open economy, jobs for its youth, opportunities for investors, and democracy and equal rights for all.
We are starting from a difficult position. Today our economy is struggling, our youth lack opportunities, too many people are unable to afford essential goods, and our infrastructure is stuck in the past.
Our recovery strategy is based on creating conditions for an investment-led economic recovery that puts a premium on job creation. In three months, we have secured $3.1 billion worth of commitments from across the world, which will create jobs and opportunities.
We are embarking on a journey toward real growth, to empower our people with skills, opportunities and jobs. We will continue taking bold steps to liberalize and introduce greater market forces, building an economy in which enterprise is allowed, encouraged and protected. If we are to succeed in this global economy, we must empower our entrepreneurs and foster innovation at every level.
As we put the past behind us and embrace this new dawn, we are calling upon the international community to join us. The creation of a National Peace and Reconciliation Committee, which I recently signed into law, will enable us to move forward now as one united people, part of the greater community of nations. Whatever misunderstandings we may have had in the past, let these make way for a new beginning.
Zimbabwe is changing — politically, economically and societally — and we ask those who have punished us in the past to reconsider their sanctions against us. Zimbabwe is a land of potential, but it will be difficult to realize it with the weight of sanctions hanging from our necks.
In the past three months, my government has taken significant steps to assuage concerns and assure any skeptics of our intentions. We have published an ambitious, responsible and stabilizing budget aimed at reducing our deficits and committing to repaying our debts.
We amended the Indigenization & Economic Empowerment Act, which had constrained foreign ownership of local businesses and discouraged much needed investment. We have now removed this constraint in almost all sectors, sending a clear signal that Zimbabwe is open for business.
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