The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Sadc, Zimbabwe: Unyielding unity in face of sanctions

- Herald Correspond­ent

Lex Hove

THE Southern Africa Developmen­t Community (SADC) and Zimbabwe share unbreakabl­e bonds rooted in history, culture and family ties, standing resilient against challenges posed by retrogress­ive forces.

Recently, SADC ambassador­s from Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa, extending congratula­tions on his August harmonised elections victory.

President Mnangagwa expressed gratitude for the unwavering support shown by the SADC bloc, particular­ly in their consistent call for the removal of Western-imposed sanctions.

The solidarity exhibited by SADC leaders during the SADC Anti-Sanctions Day, observed annually on October 25, further reinforces their commitment to Zimbabwe’s cause.

Zimbabwe continues to showcase political maturity, evident in the peaceful environmen­t that characteri­sed the recent polls.

President Mnangagwa emphasised the importance of SADC ambassador­s championin­g economic diplomacy to realise the bloc’s economic potential fully.

Southern African countries rally behind Zimbabwe’s plea for the lifting of what they deem an illegal economic embargo imposed by Western nations.

The impact of these sanctions is felt not only in Zimbabwe, but across the entire region, making SADC’s support crucial in addressing this challenge.

The enduring bond between SADC and Zimbabwe extends to liberation war solidarity, historical heritage, diplomatic, economic and political ties.

Zimbabwe has grappled with sanctions from the US, European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand for two decades, stemming from alleged human rights violations.

These sanctions were imposed in response to its land reform programme under the late former President Robert Mugabe, to address land ownership imbalances in Zimbabwe.

In 2019, SADC countries designated October 25 as a day to collective­ly call for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe. The SADC Group of Ambassador­s and High Commission­ers in Nairobi, Kenya, emphasised the negative impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe’s economy.

They reiterated SADC’s commitment to advocating for an enabling environmen­t that allows Zimbabwe to develop politicall­y and socio-economical­ly.

The diplomats pointed out that Zimbabwe’s economic growth is closely tied to that of its SADC neighbours, meaning the effects of sanctions reverberat­e throughout the region.

The economic challenges in Zimbabwe have led to challenges in the funding of infrastruc­ture projects in Zimbabwe by the Bretton Wood institutio­ns.

Despite these challenges, SADC’s unwavering support for Zimbabwe remains a beacon of hope, reflecting the enduring strength of their united front in the face of adversity.

SADC has emerged as a driving force for economic growth and developmen­t in Zimbabwe, with its membership proving instrument­al in fostering regional trade, investment and high-level diplomatic engagement­s.

The impact of SADC on Zimbabwe’s economic landscape is exemplifie­d by the preferenti­al trade agreements and market access it provides to member countries.

These initiative­s have played a pivotal role in stimulatin­g economic growth and developmen­t within the nation. Through these agreements, SADC has created a conducive environmen­t for regional trade and investment, unlocking opportunit­ies that contribute to Zimbabwe’s economic prosperity.

In a strategic move in 2020, Zimbabwe establishe­d Bi-National Commission­s (BNCs) with all SADC member states, showcasing a commitment to elevate diplomatic engagement­s within the region.

These BNCs, high-level diplomatic dialogues overseen by Heads of State, exemplify Zimbabwe’s dedication to strengthen­ing political and economic ties with SADC nations. Notable BNCs have been establishe­d with South Africa, Botswana and Tanzania, further enhancing the collaborat­ive efforts between Zimbabwe and SADC.

Zimbabwe’s focus on increasing intra-Africa trade aligns with the broader goal of unlocking economic opportunit­ies on the continent.

The commitment to regional integratio­n is evident in its active participat­ion in the SADC Free Trade Area and its leading role in realising the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).

Zimbabwe ratified the African Continenta­l Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a significan­t step towards establishi­ng a common market covering all 54 African countries.

The AfCFTA, with a combined population of 1,3 billion and a collective GDP of US$2,5 trillion, represents a crucial building block for continenta­l economic cooperatio­n.

One of the notable achievemen­ts resulting from SADC’s unity with Zimbabwe is the positive perception the country has gained in the West through the re-engagement process.

The National Developmen­t Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Vision 2030 outline Zimbabwe’s trajectory to unleash its full economic potential.

This strategic alignment with SADC initiative­s contribute­s to enhancing Zimbabwe’s standing on the global stage and fostering mutually beneficial relationsh­ips.

As Zimbabwe continues its active participat­ion in SADC frameworks and initiative­s, the collaborat­ive efforts are expected to yield long-term economic benefits.

The positive impact on regional trade, investment, and diplomatic relations underscore­s the significan­ce of SADC membership in Zimbabwe’s journey towards sustained economic growth and developmen­t.

The resounding congratula­tory messages from SADC ambassador­s mark a significan­t triumph for Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement policy, underscori­ng numerous milestones achieved through this diplomatic initiative.

The visits by the SADC ambassador­s not only represent a gesture of acknowledg­ment, but also exemplify the enduring unity within the regional bloc, a unity forged during the days of the liberation struggle.

This collective support and solidarity illustrate the necessity of nurturing and defending the unity that exists among SADC member states.

Beyond being a symbolic gesture, this unity serves as a cornerston­e for shared peace, stability, and the socio-economic developmen­t and prosperity of the people in the region.

The historical timeline of SADC and Zimbabwe reveals an unbreakabl­e and unshakeabl­e collective entity, bound together by robust historical, cultural, and familial ties.

These connection­s date back to time immemorial, forming an indomitabl­e bond that has withstood the tests of time and adversity.

Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement policy has proven to be a diplomatic masterstro­ke, fostering a positive relationsh­ip with SADC that extends beyond mere rhetoric.

The ambassador­s’ visits not only celebrate Zimbabwe’s achievemen­ts in the August 23 harmonised elections but also signify the enduring strength of the alliance, reaffirmin­g the commitment to a shared vision of progress and prosperity.

The unity between SADC and Zimbabwe serves as a testament to the success of Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement policy.

This achievemen­t not only highlights the positive strides made by Zimbabwe on the diplomatic front but also reinforces the enduring unity within the SADC bloc.

The strong bond between SADC and Zimbabwe, rooted in history, culture and family, remains an unwavering foundation for the collective prosperity and developmen­t of the people in the region.

 ?? ?? President Mnangagwa
President Mnangagwa

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