By Andrew Kunambura in Victoria Falls
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday attributed his administration’s failure to contain the raging economic crisis to sanctions and lack of global financing.
Officially opening the Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls yesterday, Mnangagwa said his government had a Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs)-driven development agenda, which could see the country’s economy booming had it not been for the effects of sanctions imposed and maintained by Western powers for 20 years.
He also said Africa was failing to successfully implement SDG programmes due to lack of international funding.
“Zimbabwe’s 2030 vision directly addresses the aspirations highlighted by the SDGs and African Union’s agenda 2063. My government has recognised the need to give greater responsibility and autonomy to provinces so as to take the SDGs to the people with the view to implement locally driven initiatives,” Mnangagwa said.
“The integration of SDGs into local development initiatives, therefore, enhances the development agenda at grassroots level which will empower our attainment of SDGs. This is aimed at attaining convergence of national priorities and SDGs implementation. However, the illegal and unjustified economic sanctions continue to impede the speed with which we attain SDGs.”
He also claimed sanctions were hampering his re-engagement efforts through which he hoped to mend relations with the West.
“In the case of Zimbabwe, we remain fully committed to implement political, economic and legislative reforms. As one of our tools for engagement and re-engagement, we are determined to see through the IMF [International Monetary Fund] Staff-Monitored Programme, which supports our reform agenda as well as the achievement of the associated reform targets,” Mnangagwa said.
“In doing this, however, it should be understood that we are undertaking the reforms without the requisite external financial support as is the norm. It is regrettable that the funding gap for SDGs in Africa remains low and weighs down on the attainment of SDGs in Africa.”
He took a swipe at United Nations-affiliated international wildlife organisation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species for preventing Zimbabwe and other African countries from trading in live animals despite sterling conservation efforts.
Coincidentally, UN deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed, who is also attending the symposium, went on a game drive in the vast Hwange National Park soon after her arrival in the country on Saturday last week.
“I implore you not to go back to your capitals without seeing the big five (five most iconic animals in Zimbabwe), in particular elephants, which we have effectively managed by minimising human-wildlife conflicts inspite of the ongoing unwarranted opposition by some in distant quarters to our rights to trade in our wildlife which we keep, which they weren’t able to keep,” Mnangagwa said.
The symposium brings together over 3 000 delegates from all over the continent to deliberate on the best way forward in terms of implementation of SDGs.