The South African government has organised a symposium to discuss the outcome of SADC’s decision to lead the drive against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the US, European Union and several Western countries.
According to a statement, the International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor hosts the symposium under the theme: “The best path to a prosperous Zimbabwe”, at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria on Monday next week.
“The purpose of the symposium is to reflect on the call by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the lifting of sanctions imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe and to stimulate discussion on what can be done to kick-start the growth of the Zimbabwean economy following the economic meltdown,” the statement from the department of international relations and co-operation said.
The sanctions, including the United States’ Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), were imposed in 2002.
Zimbabwe has been afflicted by high inflation and shortage of basic commodities such as fuel with prices sky-rocketing while President Mnangagwa blames sanctions for the tribulations.
However, the 16-member SADC recently called on the US and EU to “immediately lift” economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe during its summit in Tanzania recently.
SADC chair and Tanzanian president John Magufuli led the call adding that the sanctions were not hurting Zimbabwe, but the entire region.
His Zimbabwean counterpart, President Mnangagwa said the economic embargo was crippling development in the country.
However, the US and EU have maintained that the sanctions were targeted while the opposition parties, especially the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has accused government of using the embargo to cover its failures.
In March, US President Donald Trump’s administration extended economic sanctions by a year, saying they would not be removed unless political reforms take place.
Some 141 entities and top officials in Zimbabwe are on the US sanction list.
The US travel and economic embargo remains in place for several senior officials of the governing Zanu-PF, members of the military and state-owned companies.
The EU has imposed an arms embargo on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.