Zimbabweans have welcomed a Southern
African Development Community (SADC) summit aimed at raising funds to help
revive the country's troubled economy. The donor summit expected to be held in
neighboring South Africa next week will discuss proposals presented by Harare
officials on ways to help their faltering economy recover from the world's
highest inflation. Although Zimbabwe claims it needs
about five billion dollars to help stimulate the economy, SADC's council of
already endorsed a proposal to assist Zimbabwe in its recovery plan. It
includes a beneficial financial package.
Political analyst George Mkwananzi
tells reporter Peter Clottey Zimbabweans are hopeful the economic recovery will
end the suffering of the masses that live in abject poverty.
most Zimbabweans are looking forward to a situation in their country where
things will get better to the normal and perhaps look forward to going back and
work in a normal way,"
Mkwananzi pointed out.
He said the international
community seems to have adopted a wait and see attitude before lifting
sanctions or donating money to help jumpstart the faltering economy.
"Most of the western donors
are not prepared to start to allow resources to flow to the direction of
Zimbabwe, obviously because there are a number of things that are still
pending. Robert Mugabe has not convincingly shown that he is committed to a
truly equitable distribution of power, and most of the things that he has so
far done, he had to be pushed in order to get to that situation. So there is no
good will being exhibited by Robert Mugabe which makes most of these donor
countries unwilling and reluctant to immediately work with him in that regard,"
Mkwananzi said the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) would raise funds to help the economic
meltdown in Zimbabwe.
"I don't think that much of
that money would be sought from the western countries. I think the bigger chunk
of that money is likely to be mobilized from third world countries,
particularly in the SADC countries themselves. As you remember that the
arrangement in Zimbabwe was a direct child of the African Union as well as the
SADC, so I'm sure they will not want to be embarrassed by a situation where an
initiative by themselves is allowed to crumble primarily because it cannot be
resolved. So I think they will go a mile in order to demonstrate that what they
initiated, they can sustain," Mkwananzi noted.
He said Zimbabwe's neighbor
South Africa has been resolute in its effort to helping Harare get back on its
"Indeed I think South Africa
has played an extremely pivotal role in getting the situation in Zimbabwe to
where it is today, which makes it really a bigger responsibility indeed for
South Africa again to ensure that whatever has been put together and seems to
be working is not allowed to get to a situation where it doesn't work again? So
I think most of these monies will come from South Africa. But there would be
some quarters in South Africa which might want to resist this. But as a
political decision taken by the government of South Africa alongside the other
members of SADC, I think South Africa will ensure that a big chunk of money
will be injected into the economy of Zimbabwe," he said.
Harare has said it
would need about 2 billion U.S. dollars, half of that in the form of credit and
the other half in the form of development budget support to kick-start the
recovery program. It adds that it would need a one billion-dollar loan to
stimulate retail and related industries and another one billion dollars for
emergencies such as education, health municipal services and infrastructure.
SADC has also expressed determination to help Zimbabwe mobilize resources for
its economic recovery.
President Robert Mugabe recently called for foreign
aid to revive his nation's shattered economy and urged Washington and Brussels
to end what he described as cruel sanctions on his inner circle. Mugabe issued
the appeal at the launch of a new economic recovery plan prepared by the unity
said Zimbabwe has a long way to go before the US lifts sanctions on Mugabe's
inner circle. This comes after Harare's unity government presented a document
reforms demanded by Western donors are a crucial part of an emergency recovery
plan to ease hyper-inflation and widespread shortages of food and fuel.
During the launch of
what the new Zimbabwe unity government described as a short-term Emergency
Recovery Program, Mugabe called for international help for the plan and
reiterated a call for sanctions to be lifted. But Washington said it needed to
see clear signs of reform.
The European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and
asset freeze on Mugabe and his inner circle in protest of controversial
elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government. Although his
long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai became prime minister in a unity government
last month, western countries say they will maintain the sanctions until the
85-year-old leader proves he is ready to reform.