Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
ILLEGAL sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are negatively affecting regional groupings like SADC and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) as the country has failed to meet macro-economic targets due to the adverse effects of the embargo. This is contained in a paper prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that was presented to Cabinet recently.
“Sanctions are affecting the smooth running of regional groupings such as Sadc and Comesa. The SADC macroeconomic convergence targets of low inflation, sustainable budget deficits, minimal public debt, equitable current account balances, as well as the formation of a regional monetary union and the movement towards attaining the region’s industrialisation agenda are being compromised by the sanctions.
“Zimbabwe has failed to meet most of the targets owing to the adverse effects of sanctions. For instance, while the average rate of inflation for the region declined from 29 percent in 2002 to 7,7 percent in 2012, Zimbabwe’s inflation around 2000 was in the three digit range, while in 2012 it was in the negative territory and the economy was stagnant, yet it desperately needed some growth to stimulate employment,” the ministry said in the paper.
Apart from that, the ministry also said regional trade had also been affected by deteriorating infrastructure in the country.
“On infrastructure that support regional trade, Zimbabwe provides road and rail links for many SADC countries due to its strategic central location. The deterioration of road infrastructure due to financing challenges has resulted in high cost of operations for road users from the region. Zimbabwe could not revamp the railway system that could have benefited the region due to sanctions.
“The long and winding queues of Zimbabwean travellers witnessed at land entry and exit points into the country reflect the negative effects of sanctions on the Zimbabwean economy. It has forced Zimbabweans to import basic necessities and other personal effects from neighbouring countries, resulting in high human traffic at border posts that has caused insurmountable logistical challenges for our border authorities and those of our neighbours. Before sanctions, the reverse situation played out. Neighbouring countries relied on Zimbabwe for manufactured goods. This helped to ease the challenges now experienced at borders.”