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Zimbabweans in the diaspora were not keen to invest in the country?

Zimbabweans in the diapora, put at nearly four million, are not keen to invest in their own country while the Zimbabwe African National-Union Patriotic Front is in power because most of them have differences with ZANU-PF.

This analysis is contained in a diplomatic cable dispatched by the United States embassy in September 2009, seven months after the formation of the inclusive government which saw ZANU-PF leader Robert Mugabe remain President with Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister.

With the two parties sharing an equal number of seats in parliament there is technically no ruling party in Zimbabwe.

In fact, when the two factions of the MDC team up they have more seats than ZANU-PF and were able to elect MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament, twice, precisely because of their higher numbers, though there have been reports that some members of ZANU-PF also voted for Moyo.

The cable says the only notable players in the economy who were in the diaspora were Econet boss Strive Masiyiwa and mining executive Mutumwa Mawere.

“The diaspora community is not a significant participant in long-term investment in Zimbabwe. While there are a handful of entrepreneurs who have established successful businesses in Zimbabwe while living abroad — the CEO of cellular operator Econet, Strive Masiyiwa, and mining executive Mutumwa Mawere for instance — these are exceptions.

“Many potential investors in the diaspora left Zimbabwe due to differences with ZANU-PF and are reluctant to invest while ZANU-PF remains in power. Additionally, there are concerns about political instability and onerous investment regulations.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE745, EXPERIENCE ENGAGING DIASPORA COMMUNITIES: HARARE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE745

2009-09-18 09:00

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO8817

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0745/01 2610900

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 180900Z SEP 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4915

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000745

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

S/GPI

S/P

DRL FOR N. WILETT

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: BEXP BTIO EAID OEXC PGOV PHUM PREL SCUL SMIG

TSPL, ZI

SUBJECT: EXPERIENCE ENGAGING DIASPORA COMMUNITIES: HARARE

 

REF: STATE 86401

 

1. (U) This cable responds to questions presented in Ref.

 

2. A. (U) To what extent are diasporans from your host

country an identifiable community? Are there existing

diaspora networks, organizations or online communities

available as platforms for outreach?

 

i) (U) Estimates by NGOs, diplomatic officials, and press

accounts of the size of the Zimbabwean community residing

outside of Zimbabwe range from 2.5 million to 3.85 million

people. These Zimbabweans consist of a mix of professionals

and semi-skilled migrants who now predominantly reside in

South Africa, the UK, Botswana, the U.S., and Australia.

According to the International Organization on Migration

(IOM), the largest diasporan community is in South Africa,

where IOM estimates that as many as 3.1 million Zimbabweans

reside, the majority of whom are illegal migrants. Other

countries with sizable Zimbabwean populations (estimates from

IOM) are the UK (400,000), Botswana (200,000), the U.S.

(100,000), Australia (22,000), Canada (20,000), New Zealand

(7,000) and Namibia (2,000). Migrants in these countries

tend to belong to identifiable communities.

 

ii) (U) Most existing diaspora networks are located in South

Africa with some connection to other countries. These

include Global Zimbabwe Forum, Zimbabwe Diaspora Development

Chamber, Diaspora Nurses Association, Progressive Teachers of

Zimbabwe in South Africa, Creative Writers Association

Workshop, and Peace and Democracy Project. They act as

useful platforms for outreach. The IOM utilized them when it

organized a Zimbabwe Diaspora Engagement Workshop in May

2009.

 

B. (U) What is the nature of the connection of the diaspora

community to the host country?

 

i) (U) It is common for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to

maintain close ties with their families in Zimbabwe and to

support them economically. Many low- and semi-skilled

workers have left Zimbabwe because of the collapse of the

agricultural, mining, and industrial sectors and remit

portions of their meager wages. Higher-skilled migrants, who

have left Zimbabwe for either political or economic reasons,

are generally earning higher wages and able to send back

larger amounts.

 

ii) (SBU) Some highly educated migrants have maintained

their memberships in Zimbabwean professional associations.

For example, the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Medical

Aid Association (ZIMA) told us that many doctors in the

diaspora keep their dues current with ZIMA even though they

may have left Zimbabwe years ago.

 

iii) (SBU) Many diasporans are active in the political

discourse on Zimbabwe despite still being denied the right to

vote in elections. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)

political party has branches in South Africa, the UK, the

U.S., Australia, and Canada. These branches hold annual

congresses and maintain close contact with the party in

Zimbabwe through the MDC national chairperson.

 

C. (U) To what extent has your host country or government

activated its diaspora communities for humanitarian relief?

 

i) (SBU) While there have been instances when the diasporan

community contributed to humanitarian relief efforts, this

has not been at the instigation or encouragement of

government. Last year, during a health crisis, medical

equipment was donated to Harare Hospital. These sorts of

efforts are initiated by members of the diaspora who often

partner with international donor groups to provide ad hoc

Qpartner with international donor groups to provide ad hoc

assistance.

 

D. (U) To what extent is the diaspora community engaged in

long-term investment in your host country?

 

i) (SBU) The diaspora community is not a significant

participant in long-term investment in Zimbabwe. While there

are a handful of entepreneurs who have established

successful businesses in Zimbabwe while living abroad — the

CEO of cellular operator Econet, Strive Masiyiwa, and mining

executive Mutumwa Mawere for instance — these are

exceptions. Many potential investors in the diaspora left

 

HARARE 00000745 002 OF 003

 

 

Zimbabwe due to differences with ZANU-PF and are reluctant to

invest while ZANU-PF remains in power. Additionally, there

are concerns about political instability and onerous

investment regulations.

 

ii) (SBU) The diaspora community has shown some interest in

real estate. Although investment in this sector has declined

in the last three years, demand for houses by the diaspora is

showing signs of increasing due to optimism following the

establishment of the new ZANU-PF–MDC inclusive government in

February.

 

E. (U) To what extent is the diaspora community working

toward scientific, engineering, medical, and educational

institution building?

 

i) (U) Many skilled professionals have left Zimbabwe. These

include large numbers of civil, mechanical, electrical and

mining engineers. Within the medical field, numerous doctors

and nurses have left. Numerous teachers have migrated to

South Africa and other neighboring countries. In 2008, for

example, Botswana hired a large proportion of the science and

math teachers from the city of Bulawayo. Additionally,

numerous Zimbabwean students are studying health, medicine,

engineering, economics, finance, and science in the U.S.,

South Africa, and in other countries. While they are not

currently engaged in institution building in Zimbabwe, they

constitute a potentially valuable resource should local

conditions improve and prompt their return.

 

F. (U) To what extent is the diaspora community engaged in

conflict resolution and peace building?

 

i) (U) The Zimbabwean diaspora has not assumed an active

role in conflict resolution or peace building.

 

G. (U) To what extent is the diaspora community engaged in

meeting the health, education and welfare needs of indigenous

peoples?

 

i) (U) The participation of the diaspora community in

meeting the health, education and welfare needs of indigenous

peoples is predominantly focused on financial support to

their families. The diaspora community sends funds back home

to support their families with school fees, medical care and

related household expenses.

 

ii) (U) Additionally, some in the diaspora are engaged in

fundraising activities to support the work of NGOs and social

welfare organizations as well as faith-based organizations in

their home communities in Zimbabwe. Diasporans also

volunteer their expertise when home in Zimbabwe on visits —

either formally or informally — in order to assist such

organizations and their communities.

 

H. (U) To what extent is the diaspora community engaged in

democracy promotion, electoral reform and civil society

development?

 

i) (U) The diaspora community is active in promoting

democracy, electoral reform and civil society development.

This is done through the creation of websites such as

Zimbabwe Situation, ZimDaily, the Zimbabwe Times, and the

newspaper The Zimbabwean (distributed in Zimbabwe) and the

placement of op/eds in newspapers throughout the world.

Additionally the diaspora maintains contact with government

officials in numerous countries and lobbies for support for

democratic elements within Zimbabwe.   In particular, the

diaspora community is lobbying for provisions in a new

constitution to give it the right to vote and the right to

hold dual citizenship. These are positions that the MDC has

embraced and is championing.

 

I. (U) How would you characterize the level of concern and

attention given to diaspora communities by your host

Qattention given to diaspora communities by your host

government?

 

i) (SBU) Prior to the formation of the current inclusive

government, the ZANU-PF-led government paid little attention

to the diaspora. This was due to the belief that the

diaspora population — including skilled and semi-skilled

migrants — was supportive of the political opposition MDC

party.

 

ii) (SBU) The MDC, which is now part of government, views

 

HARARE 00000745 003 OF 003

 

 

the diaspora as an important resource and base of support.

Consequently, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has met with

diaspora groups in the U.S., Europe and South Africa to

address their concerns and encourage them to return to

Zimbabwe.

 

J. (U) If Post has undertaken programs to reach out

proactively to diaspora community members, please share the

circumstances that prompted the outreach effort.

 

i) (U) Post has no formal programs to reach out to the

diaspora community. We meet from time to time with

Zimbabweans residing outside the country who are visiting,

and maintain contacts with some Zimbabweans in the diaspora,

principally in South Africa.

 

K. (U) If Post has received unsolicited requests from the

diaspora community please share the nature of these request.

 

i) (U) Post has received many inquiries on how to give back

effectively from former program participants and students

from Zimbabwe who studied in the U.S.; these requests are on

how to gain employment in Zimbabwe, how to seek local

internship and volunteer opportunities, and how to

participate in fund-raising efforts with community-based

organizations.

 

L. (U) To what extent has Post designed or participated in

public diplomacy programs customized to diaspora community

needs and interests?

 

i) (U) The Educational Advising Center based in the Public

Affairs Section of the Embassy has been working actively with

Zimbabwean stuQts who are studying in the U.S., or who have

graduated and are working full-time, or are engaged in

internships in the U.S. We have launched a Facebook page for

them and actively engage them as speakers when they are home

on holidays. We work to integrate them into our programming,

especially for our pre-departure orientations and as speakers

in our Food for Thought seminar series. Through the

Embassy’s USAP program (www.usapglobal.org), which assists

Zimbabwean students to study in the U.S., we support a

website, listservs and annual conferences, to foster

communication among Zimbabwean students living in the U.S.

 

M. (U) In planning future programs and anticipating requests

for assistance for diaspora community actors, what types of

knowledge management tools and information materials would be

most helpful to action officers at Post?

 

i) (U) Post would greatly benefit from a tool which would

allow us to create a database to track the skills, interests,

and levels of involvement of Zimbabweans in their home

communities. This would allow us to capitalize on

diasporans’ ability to contribute to a Zimbabwean recovery.

 

PETTERSON

(24 VIEWS)

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