The Royal Danish Embassy and its general consulate in Harare have been closed to focus on important emerging markets, the embassy said in a statement yesterday.
The Danish Embassy in Pretoria will from January 1, 2017 have the official responsibility for Danish relations with Zimbabwe. It is expected that an honorary consulate will be established in Harare, but this is currently awaiting approval.
The embassy said Denmark visas will be processed by the French Embassy in Harare.
“All Danish citizens — travelling or residing in Zimbabwe — are strongly encouraged to register on the ministry of Foreign Affairs’ list of Danes abroad,” the embassy said in a statement.
“In accordance with existing rules on renewal and acquiring of ordinary passports and driver’s licences, Danish nationals residing in Zimbabwe, will likewise in the future have to contact the embassy in Pretoria or have the documents issued during visits to Denmark.”
The decision to phase-out the Danish development engagement with Zimbabwe and subsequently close the embassy office in December 2016, was made in September 2015.
“On December 21, 2016, the Danish Embassy office in Harare officially closes to the public, but due to Christmas holidays, the last actual working day is December 21, 2016,” the embassy statement said.
No details on the reason of the closure were released. But Denmark’s former Foreign Affairs minister Holger K Nielsen had announced that the embassy reshuffle was part of a greater realignment to become more present in areas experiencing growth on the global stage.
“The changes to the embassy structure will, all in all, give Denmark direct access to over 300 million more people and consumers than at present — distributed throughout three continents — including important emerging markets,” Nielsen said.
Zimbabwe’s investment climate is significantly weakened due to a lack of reform, political uncertainties and inconsistent application of the rule of law.
Zimbabwe has also trashed Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (Bippa) with Denmark, refusing to compensate Danish citizens whose commercial farms were compulsorily acquired by government in the sullied land reform programme contrary to the bilateral agreement.
Denmark said the phase-out will be gradual and ensure that Denmark honours all its development commitments in Zimbabwe.
Denmark currently partners with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to strengthen the judiciary for more effective and independent justice delivery.