Another step the leading economies should take to support us, and others, is to end the political and illegal use of sanctions. In late October, UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan called for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the EU and the US after finishing a fact-finding mission.
She echoed the arguments I have articulated since taking office, that sanctions and various over-compliance with sanctions have had “an insidious ripple effect on the economy of Zimbabwe and on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including access to health, food, safe drinking water and sanitation.”
If the sanctions are removed, we would have a fighting chance at fulfilling our plans to become a middle-income country by the end of this decade, helping thousands out of poverty, stimulating innovation and once again allowing Zimbabwe to play a leading role on the African continent.
I believe we have demonstrated our willingness and desire to play a responsible role in the international community. We have made great progress over the last three years and addressed many of the reforms asked of us, including providing compensation to landowners who had their properties expropriated in the 2000s, and tackling corruption. We are applying to re-join the Commonwealth of nations and I hope my presence at COP26 is yet another sign of Zimbabwe’s reengagement efforts.
I was buoyed by warm bilateral conversations with US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the European Council Charles Michel and others over the first week of the conference.
But the time for words is over – we must act now. My hope is the developing world will be freed to both play its part in the global fight against climate change as well as be equipped to deal with its devastating consequences.
By Emmerson Mnangagwa for Al Jazeera