Sadc countries are priming themselves for next week’s historic Zimbabwe anti-sanctions day, through a plethora of events to send a unified message as they lobby for the removal of economic sanctions imposed on this country over the past two decades.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently sent letters to his counterparts in various regional capitals appraising them of how sanctions have ravaged Zimbabwe and preparations for the regional day of solidarity with Zimbabwe.
Regional leaders declared October 25 as a day for solidarity with Zimbabwe against the economic embargo, during the Sadc Heads of State and Government meeting held in Tanzania recently.
Member States will hold a series of events, in their respective countries, aimed at sending a message to the United States and some Western countries.
Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications) Mr George Charamba told The Sunday Mail recently that all Sadc leaders had been appraised of how sanctions had impacted Zimbabwe’s economic prospects.
“The President has been in contact with his counterparts in all regional capitals through diplomatic channels,” he said.
“He has been appraising them of the impact the sanctions have had on the country, particularly how they are stifling our development aspirations.”
This comes as Government has prepared a paper itemising how the decade long embargo has hamstrung the country. The paper details adverse effects of sanctions on economic sectors spanning from aviation, agriculture, health, manufacturing, finance and banking and tourism.
Zimbabwe, according to the paper, has lost over US$42 billion in revenue over the past 18 years while donor support estimated to the tune of US$4,5 billion has been lost annually since 2001.
Further, US$12 billion worth of loans from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and African Development Bank, commercial loans of US$18 billion have been lost while the GDP has shrunk by US$21 billion.
According to the paper, more than 400 000 Zimbabweans lost their private sector jobs between 2005 and 2013 while the number of people living in extreme poverty grew from 10 percent of the population to over 30 percent since the sanctions were imposed.
A senior diplomatic source who spoke to The Sunday Mail last week said there was displeasure among regional leaders over the refusal by the west to remove the sanctions.
“The Heads of State and Government felt that this issue of sanctions has been on the table for so long. Despite Sadc calling for the removal of sanctions, they still subsist,” said the source.
“There was this displeasure at the lack of response from various quarters particularly the United States in terms of removal of the sanctions.