Embassies of countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Nigeria have again called for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the prolonged economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the United States of America (USA) in 2001 and the European Union (EU) in 2002.
The Embassies in Nigeria, of countries of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, South-Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe in a joint statement released on Sunday in Abuja to mark the 20th years of imposition of the sanctions, said: “Despite efforts made by Zimbabwean authorities towards engagement and rapprochement with estranged countries, guided by the belief that the country should be a “Friend to All and Enemy to None”, the United States of America (USA) and the European Union (EU) have not reciprocated the same hand of friendship. Instead, at the beginning of each year, they have unjustifiably extended the illegal sanctions which have adverse consequences on the lives of ordinary people in Zimbabwe.”
The Embassies said: “Far from the narrative in the western media that the sanctions on Zimbabwe are ring-fenced and targeted at a few individuals, the impact of the sanctions is felt throughout the economy and the region beyond. The sanctions limit Zimbabwe’s access to lines of credit, in the process weakening the country’s balance of payment position. Sanctions have also impacted on Zimbabwe’s ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which is essential for economic growth. As such, many Zimbabwean companies have crumbled after failing to access much needed capital resulting in large-scale retrenchment of workers and high rate of unemployment. Subsequently, Zimbabwe has suffered from brain drain as most of its skilled workers move to neighbouring countries and beyond in search of job opportunities. The sanctions also have adverse downstream effects on key socio-economic sectors including health. They have created a vicious circle of poverty in Zimbabwe that has led to poverty-related deaths from failed healthcare and other systems, and even hunger.”
They added that: “Despite the debilitating effects of these punitive measures, the Zimbabwe Government has made tremendous efforts to implement political, economic, and other reforms for the betterment of Zimbabwean society. The Government and the people of Zimbabwe have shown great resilience and fortitude, with the support of their SADC neighbours and other friendly and well-meaning nations to survive the near two decades of western imposed sanctions. The Government of Zimbabwe has also embarked on an ambitious development agenda, in line with the SADC Region’s development plans, but finds its initiatives hampered by the sanctions.”
The Embassies claimed the sanctions in themselves are outdated and irrelevant to the situation prevailing in Zimbabwe which is why SADC Missions in Abuja join our brother and sisters in the region and around the world on 25 October each year to unequivocally call for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.
They however called on the government and people of Nigeria to lend their voices and support to the noble cause, noting that: “An injustice to one of us is injustice to all of us.”
Michael Olugbode in Abuja