Zimbabwe’s new president said Brexit is a ‘good thing because they will need us’

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa in December 2017.

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Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa in December 2017.
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Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

  • Brexit is a “good thing” for Zimbabwe because then Britain will “need” it, the country’s president said.
  • Emmerson Mnangagwa told the Financial Times that both he and the UK were keen that Zimbabwe return to the Commonwealth.
  • Commonwealth countries make up 9% of the UK’s exports.

Zimbabwe’s new president thinks Brexit is a “good thing” because it will “need” Zimbabwe.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Emmerson Mnangagwa said both he and Britain were keen that Zimbabwe rejoin the Commonwealth, and that Brexit would help bring the two countries closer together.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU was a “good thing because they will need us,” Mnangagwa said. “We will make sure we become very close to them. So that what they’ve lost with Brexit they can come and recover from Zimbabwe.”

The Commonwealth, the 52-member club which comprises mostly former British colonies, currently makes up about 9% of UK exports, according to Full Fact.

Zimbabwe, a former British colony, withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 after it was suspended for human rights violations under Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, a former acolyte of ex-President Robert Mugabe, has repeatedly signalled his desire to open up his country to foreign trade and investment.

He became President of Zimbabwe in November after a military coup ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule over the country.

Following Mugabe’s resignation, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Zimbabwe’s rejoining the Commonwealth “would be a fine and noble aspiration,” but the country would have to prove its commitment to human rights and the rule of law.