Lord Mandelson visited Zimbabwe on 14-16 February 2016. We wish to correct a number of inaccurate assertions regarding his visit that have circulated in the media and on-line.
Lord Mandelson visited Zimbabwe as an extension of a private visit in South Africa. Lord Mandelson asked the Foreign & Commonwealth Office if he could be of assistance in promoting UK government objectives in Zimbabwe. Given Lord Mandelson’s experience as a senior UK minister and European Union Commissioner for Trade, we agreed he could help reinforce the case for economic reform with the Government of Zimbabwe. To this end, the British Embassy in Harare facilitated a meeting with Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, at which Lord Mandelson was accompanied by the British ambassador. Lord Mandelson was not attending in his capacity as senior adviser to an investment bank. There was no discussion of loans or transactions of any nature with Minister Chinamasa. The meeting focussed on the economic reform agenda.
The UK is not ‘bailing out’ the government of Zimbabwe. No UK taxpayers’ money has been or will be used to directly fund the government of Zimbabwe. Whilst Zimbabwe continues to seek refinancing options to clear its debt arrears to the World Bank, any decision on future UK support for a multi-year IMF programme would require demonstrable progress on human rights, governance and rule of law, in addition to economic reform.
Lord Mandelson’s visit was not funded by the British government. He did not stay at the ambassador’s residence. UK overseas missions do not generally provide support to former ministers, except when they are assisting with current UK government policy objectives, as in this case.
We are grateful for the efforts made by Lord Mandelson to press the case for economic reform in Zimbabwe