Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has received a tremendous boost after the Southern African Development Community executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax called on the United States to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe to allow the country to fulfill its development agenda.
Zimbabwe has been under United States sanctions since 2003.
It is also under European Union sanctions though these were eased five years ago and efforts to have them tightened following last month’s disturbances failed.
Tax told the Charge d ‘Affairs of the Embassy of the United States of America in Botswana Kali C Jones yesterday that the international community should lift socio-economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe which, she said, continue to deny Zimbabwe access to finance from multilateral financial institutions, private financed institutions and capital markets to support the country’s development agenda.
Tax said that the economic sanctions were also affecting private sector investment into the country.
Mnangagwa and his administration, while calling for sanctions to be lifted, have decided that they will forge ahead despite the sanctions.
His administration also received another boost from neighbouring Botswana which promised to pour in US$600 million into Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe and Botswana had some of the worst relations in the last days of former President Robert Mugabe but Mnangagwa seems to have repaired these.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected in the country in two weeks for bilateral negotiations.
While under pressure from a public that does not trust his administration, Mnangagwa seems to be slowly getting on top of the situation.
This was demonstrated by the liberalisation of the exchange rate last week.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, the man behind the economic reforms the country is currently undertaking, says Zimbabwe is now cash positive.
“Government is cash positive. We managed to pay civil servants salaries for the months of January and February from a cash positive position, with $300 million in the bank,” Ncube said.
“We are spending what we have, and I am determined to ensure that we carry on like that for the next two years. In fact, it should always be like that. On the expenditure front, we have been working hard to curtail expenditure in terms of civil servants’ salaries and civil service reform.”
Industry sources told the Insider last week that Ncube had managed to mop out excess money so much that businesses were running out of RTGS dollars and feared that the country would dollarise if the government did not introduce a local currency soon.