Harare - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday made history by becoming the first president of the southern African country to publicly respond to questions from ordinary citizens at a town hall meeting (an open forum where public figures answer questions from the public) in Harare.
Former president Robert Mugabe never took time to respond to individual questions from members of the public, even parliamentarians.
The town hall meeting was organised by the Global Shapers Harare Hub, part of a network of young people driving dialogue, action and change across 157 countries in the world.
The Global Shapers is an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
The meeting - dubbed #RoadtoDavos - was held ahead of Mnangagwa’s inaugural trip next week to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Mnangagwa responded to questions from young people about issues such as elections, education, the need for dialogue, and youth integration and involvement in the economy.
His first response was that Zimbabwe is open for business, a message he has been reiterating since he came into power.
“Zimbabwe embraces (a) free economy,” he said.
Mnangagwa also explained why he is going to Davos, and what he is going to do there.
“I am going there to talk about my country, that it is open for business and this is what we have for the future."
The president undertook to tell the world that Zimbabwe is open for business, and that the country will honour its obligations in relation to business.
Said Mnangagwa: “We want to be part of you, we also need you. What can we do for you to stop being hostile to us?”