HARARE, Zimbabwe, Oct. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Zimbabwe has called a public holiday Friday to highlight the toll that sanctions are taking on its fragile economy. Already reeling from drought and Cyclone Idai this year that have left 5.5 million people in need of food aid, Zimbabwe urgently needs access to international funding to support its economic reforms.
October 25th has been declared Anti-Sanctions Day, with a festival being held in Harare to highlight the debilitating effect of the sanctions imposed by the United States and EU in 2003.
Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa has called these Robert Mugabe-era sanctions counter-productive, hurting his efforts to turn Zimbabwe around after decades of isolation and mismanagement. Mugabe died in September.
"These sanctions constitute a denial of the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe, to develop and improve their quality of life," President Mnangagwa said. "Furthermore, the sanctions are slowing down our progress, inhibiting our economic recovery, and punishing the poorest and most vulnerable."
His government's tight fiscal austerity has already resulted in balanced books, sustained primary budget surpluses, and a degree of fiscal discipline unseen in Zimbabwe for decades.
The country is meeting the fiscal and monetary targets agreed with the International Monetary Fund and it expects to reduce the budget deficit from 12% of GDP to 5% in 2019. But all this is at risk with Zimbabwe remaining shut out of international finance and expertise due to the sanctions.
"Currently, we are undertaking all these reforms – all the painful processes that are needed and necessary – without any form of external assistance," Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo said.
He pointed out that international support would strengthen the pace of reform in Zimbabwe and the government's drive for reconciliation and justice.
Zimbabwe is currently modernising 30 Mugabe-era laws to meet Western standards. Controversial emergency and media laws are being replaced with new legislations that are currently in Parliament.
President Mnangagwa called on the international community to support his reform programme: "Zimbabwe deserves a new start. Sanctions are a lose-lose game. Cooperation is a win-win for all."
The Southern African Development Community has expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe, calling for an end to the crippling sanctions. The group of 16 nations declared in August that the sanctions were no longer acceptable, hampering the development of the entire region.
SOURCE Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Zimbabwe