Zimbabwe has rallied SADC and the African Union to vigorously lobby for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union as the continent continues "to feel the strain of the implosion of the Zimbabwean economy, which continues to reel under these Western sanctions".
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, last month presented a paper to Cabinet, indicating that Zimbabwe lost about US$98 billion due to illegal sanctions imposed after the Land Reform Programme.
According to the paper, which was availed to The Herald yesterday, over the years, Zimbabwe lost an estimated US$42 billion in revenue, US$4,5 billion in bilateral donor support, US$12 billion in loans from international financial institutions, US$18 billion in commercial loans and a GDP reduction of US$21 billion.
This is despite the fact that Western countries insist that the sanctions are targeted at individuals and do not hurt ordinary Zimbabweans.
In August, Sadc declared October 25 as a day of solidarity with Zimbabwe against the embargo which is stifling economic growth in the country and the region.
"In view of the new dispensation thrust on engagement and re-engagement, the sanctions are out-of-date and irrelevant to the situation that prevails in Zimbabwe. In this regard, they must be removed immediately to allow the country to move forward. The need for unity of purpose from all Zimbabweans, SADC and the AU in lobbying for their unconditional removal cannot be overemphasised," the paper reads.
Significant progress that the country had made in the development of infrastructure, health, education and other social service delivery systems, the report further explains, has been severely reversed by the sanctions imposed under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) of 2001.
"Zimbabwe's access to international credit markets was blocked after the enactment of ZIDERA.
"The country has been forced to virtually operate on hand-to-mouth, and there has been a significant build-up of external debt arrears. This unfavourable development has worsened the country's credit worthiness as the country's international financial risk profile escalated," the paper reads.
"This subsequently led to the drying up of traditional sources of external finance from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), with the country receiving no support from the African Development Bank since 1998, the International Monetary Fund since 1999 and the World Bank since 2001."
The paper further states that the US and EU sanctions on Zimbabwe are illegal and unjustified because they violate Article 41 of the United Nations Charter, which states that sanctions can only be decided by the UN Security Council.