Southern Africa Times
Zimbabwe has begun preparations for activities that will be held on the second day of solidarity with the country against illegal economic sanctions imposed by Western countries nearly two decades ago.
SADC leaders adopted October 25 as the Day of Solidarity with Zimbabwe at their Heads of State and Government Summit in Tanzania last year.
The sanctions have bled Zimbabwe’s economy and have caused untold suffering to ordinary people as health and other social services crumble.
The country has been cut off from accessing credit from most international financial institutions, and is not benefiting from debt rescheduling schemes being extended to developing countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador James Manzou told The Southern Times that preparations for the day had begun with an inter-ministerial committee steering activities.
“The day is SADC’s day and not just not Zimbabwe’s day,” said Ambassador Manzou. “SADC took the decision that for as long as the sanctions are in place, every October 25 the region will undertake activities to highlight the need for those sanctions to be removed.
“In terms of activities, we are liaising with the SADC secretariat, and the inter-ministerial committee on the Zimbabwean side is seized with the matter to of activities that would be done on the day.”
At the recent United Nations General Assembly, the leaders of Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda all called for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
According to research commissioned by the Zimbabwe government, the country has lost over US$42 billion in revenue over the past 18 years, while donor support estimated at 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, and commercial loans worth US$18 billion, have been lost, while the country’s GDP has shrunk by US$21 billion.
Over 400,000 Zimbabweans lost their jobs in the private sector between 2005 and 2013, while the number of people living under the poverty datum line grew from 54 percent of the total population to nearly 90 percent.