EU differs with AU on lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe


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The African Union and the Southern Africa Development Community are pushing for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe to save the country’s economy from collapsing.

But amid the push, Western countries which imposed the restrictions nearly 20 years ago say Harare should blame itself for not taming graft and guaranteeing civil liberties.

In a series of dispatches, both the African Union and SADC said the removal of sanctions will discourage the mass emigration of Zimbabweans to neighbouring countries and put the country in good stead of international lenders for loans to stabilise the economy.

Meeting in Dar es Salaam in August, the 16-member bloc representatives from southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and chaired by Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, called for removal of all sanctions on Zimbabwe to pave way for socio-economic transformation.

“The removal of sanctions will benefit Zimbabweans and the SADC Region, as well as, enhance co-operation of SADC with the European Union and the United States of America,” the representative resolved.

The EU, one of the sanctioning bodies, said the earliest removal of sanctions can be considered is after December when the Union could discuss the matter.

The EU accused SADC of exaggerating the impact of sanctions, saying they were targeting specified entities.

“Besides the arms embargo, the only EU restrictive measure in force is limited to the former first lady Grace Mugabe and Zimbabwe Defense Industry, a company which is no longer active in the defense sector,” said Emilio Rossetti, the EU deputy head of delegation.

It argued that the measures cannot affect the broader economy or foreign direct investment.

“None of the restrictive measures is impacting the privileged, tariff and quota free, access to the EU market granted by the Economic and Partnership Agreement ratified in 2012,” he said.

But Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the SADC executive secretary argued that the sanctions, initially imposed to target key political figures for violating human rights, have in fact punished ordinary citizens who have to buy basic amenities at inflated prices.

“The sanctions have proved to be directly affecting entities beyond the so-called targeted individuals, and have a negative impact on the credibility of Zimbabwe. They have serious trickle-down effects on the economy and people of Zimbabwe, and by extension, the SADC Region.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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