By Cresey Kuyedzwa
Efforts by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Dr Stergomena Tax to have sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe lifted have failed to bear fruit, after US President Donald Trump extended sanctions imposed on the southern African country by another year.
Earlier this year, Ramaphosa spoke on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying Zimbabwe faces “serious, serious, economic challenges, and they can be assisted by the world if those sanctions are lifted”.
Last week, the SADC also reiterated its call for Western countries to lift sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, saying the embargo was limiting private sector investment and hindering the country’s reform agenda.
The call was a follow-up to a statement issued by the SADC Heads of State and Government early in February.
In the statement, the SADC Heads of State noted that “efforts to transform the economy and bring about prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe are negatively affected by the illegal sanctions that were imposed on the country since the early 2000s.”
‘Still a threat’
However, US President Donald Trump on Monday extended the sanctions, saying Zimbabwe still posed a threat to the foreign policy of the United States.
In an Executive Order, Trump said: “The actions and policies of these persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.
“Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288.”
Executive Order 13288 blocks the property of certain persons, whose actions are said to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.
Critics, however, say the sanctions have unintended consequences, as they are used to deny Zimbabwe access to finance from multilateral and private institutions, and affect the country’s development.