Sanctions: SADC stands by Zimbabwe again

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A group of 16 African countries has called on the US and EU to “immediately lift” economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

The policy was hurting the region, said Tanzania President John Magufuli, who is also the chairman of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

The sanctions were imposed in 2002 when Robert Mugabe was president.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa blames them for crippling development in the country.

He says removing them would attract Western investors to Zimbabwe after close to two decades of economic isolation.

Zimbabwe is reeling from high inflation and shortages of basic supplies such as fuel, power and water.

Inflation is currently at a 10-year high, shrinking salaries and pensions, while the price of bread has increased five-fold since April. About five million Zimbabweans are currently in need of food aid, according to the UN.

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 Reuters news agency reported in February quoting a US official.

President Mnangagwa, who came into office in 2017 after the army ousted his predecessor, has been facing protests against his economic policies.

Last week police violently dispersed anti-government protesters in the capital, Harare.