Zimbabwe is reportedly considering shutting down some of its 46 embassies around the world in a measure aimed at cutting costs.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo said government was in the process of clearing its debt in respect of salaries, rentals and other running cost for its various embassies as it tried to rebuild its image internationally.
Moyo said that there was a need for the country’s 46 embassies to perform and meet key result areas to justify why they shouldn’t be closed.
"We're reviewing the position of all embassies and it's high time they must perform in a measurable manner. Government incurs a lot of costs in running embassies so they must justify their existence," Moyo was quoted as saying.
He said that this was in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa's maiden speech as president when he pledged to rebuild relations with the international community. But due to the country's economic troubles it was difficult to maintain some of its embassies.
'Deplorable and uninhabitable conditions'
In May 2017, Zimbabwean lawmakers urged the then president Robert Mugabe-led government to consider shutting down some of the embassies due to cash problems.
Reports indicated at the time that Mugabe's administration had failed to pay some diplomats and staff their salaries for months.
Staff at the Zimbabwean embassy in Malawi, for instance, complained of abuses, alleging that they had not received their salaries since December 2016.
Foreign Affairs Parliament Committee chairperson Kindness Paradza, also told parliament at the time that it would be better if the government closed down some of its embassies, as they were not in good conditions.
Some of Zimbabwe's embassy buildings in Botswana and Ethiopia were in "deplorable and uninhabitable conditions", reports said.