…US$42 billion loss?
The much-celebrated successes of the Brussels visit by President Emmerson Mnangagwa for the African Union (AU)/ European Union (EU) 6th session which was held late in February were short-lived after the EU announced that restrictive measures on the country were going to stay.
In what was termed as a ‘diplomatic victory’ for President Mnangagwa, the EU however, removed the already suspended targeted sanction on Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, Army General Philip Valerio Sibanda and Former First Lady Grace Mugabe.
The bloc said the purpose of its restrictive measures was to encourage a demonstrable, genuine, and long-term commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to respect and uphold human rights and the rule of law.
“The EU has decided to renew its restrictive measures while lifting the already suspended restrictive measures against three individuals. The arms embargo and the targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, remain in place taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the continuing need to investigate the role of security forces in human rights abuses,” said the bloc in a statement.
Despite several interventions and engagements between the EU and the government, the bloc believes that has been no progress to address some issues raised when the restrictive measures were put in place.
“Intimidation of the political opposition and other government critics has continued to restrict the democratic and civic space, which is under threat of shrinking further, through the Data Protection Act and ongoing legislative processes such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the envisaged so-called “Patriotic Act”,” further stated the EU.
In a pincer movement, the United States of America also renewed its set of embargos on Zimbabwe recently, furthering the punch to re-engagement efforts.
In a statement, the US President, Joe Biden said the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not made the necessary political and economic reforms that would warrant terminating the existing targeted sanctions program. Throughout the last year, government security services routinely intimidated and violently repressed citizens, including members of opposition political parties, union members, and journalists,” stated the US President.
Since 2003 the United States has annually renewed their sanctions with over 130 individuals and 60 companies have been under the Zimbabwe sanctions program. A third of individuals and 40 per cent of the companies have however been removed from the list through reviews.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube claims that the sanction on Zimbabwe has lost the country over US$42 billion since 2002.
“FDI has been restricted and investors would be fearing to associate with us for fear of these sanctions. If you are to look at the FDI inflows in the 80s, they were about US$8 million per year, they increased to US$95 million in the 90s but then dropped to US$20 million per annum in the 2000s,” Ncube said.
The President of Zimbabwe has on various occasions called for the unconditional removal of sanctions which he says are hindering economic development and eroding the social fabric in the community.
However, the EU and the US maintains that the country must meet set conditions to respect human rights, the rule of law and democracy.