Harare, Oct 22 (IANS) Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West led by the United States and Britain continue to impede economic progress in the country and the southern African region as a whole and should be lifted, Stergomena Tax, Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary, said on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of SADC’s Anti-Sanctions Day scheduled for October 25, Tax said the sanctions continued to have a far-reaching ruinous impact on Zimbabwe and the region, Xinhua news agency reported.
“The sanctions have caused suffering among Zimbabweans and continue to have far-reaching effects on Zimbabwe and the entire SADC region,” Tax was quoted as saying by state news agency New Ziana.
“The Zimbabwe Democracy Recovery Act (ZIDERA) as was passed by the US Congress in 2001 and its subsequent amendments is particularly harmful to the economy of Zimbabwe and welfare of Zimbabweans,” she added.
At its annual meeting in Tanzania in August last year, SADC agreed to collectively lobby for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and designated October 25 as the day when each member country carries out activities to denounce the sanctions.
Zimbabwe declared October 25 a public holiday to allow Zimbabweans to participate in activities earmarked for the day.
The occasion brings all the people of southern Africa to support Zimbabwe in its fight against the sanctions imposed two decades ago after the country repossessed land owned by former white commercial farmers for resettlement of landless blacks.
Tax said ZIDERA was particularly harmful as it allows punishment of Americans who support multilateral funding to Zimbabwe and discourages doing business with Zimbabwean businesses.
“This has left our sister Republic without external support for capital projects,” she said.
Tax, however, applauded Zimbabweans for showing resilience against the “damaging” sanctions.
“It is commendable that Zimbabwe is now among the top five Doing Business and Reformers in Africa and top 20 improvers on ease of doing business scores in the world,” she said.
The SADC executive secretary said the region noted Zimbabwe government’s efforts to compensate former white commercial farmers, as well as the economic and political reforms it is undertaking to improve the investment climate.
“Zimbabwe would have achieved more if it was not under sanctions,” tax said.