Sanctions must go. They are a cancer to the economics of Zimbabwe

As for my counterparts, this is no time for romantic illusion and empty philosophical debates about Zimbabwean freedom

 

By Eddison Shumba

I must honestly start by mentioning that I have never intended to adjust myself to write on calling off sanctions but today I’m proudly maladjusted to denounce them. Sanctions must go! Economics is the most serious problem confronting the Zimbabwean community today.

There have been different types of sanctions placed on Zimbabwe over the years vis-à-vis European Union (EU) and United States (US) sanctions.

One may argue that there are no concrete gains that have been won as a result of these sanctions.

My basic orientation revolves around business and the impact that we are experiencing in accessing capital from International banks.

We have inherited a difficult problem in our country over the years, the question of a sanction free Zimbabwe has not been supported by every Zimbabwean and many fail to realize their negative implications.

Opposition politics has often underplayed sanctions roles on the economic deterioration of Zimbabwe.

However, the idea that every Zimbabwean must affirm a commitment to a sanction free Zimbabwe is economically noble.

Sanctions are real and the impact of sanctions has had an adverse effect to the Zimbabwean economy.

It must be noted that US companies cannot deal with government companies on sanctions list.

A good example is the Industrial development Corporation (IDC) of Zimbabwe – a state company that holds shares in Olivine and Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company (ZFC).

Many Zimbabwe will agree that Olivine used to be one of the leading companies in Zimbabwe and so is the ZFC. In 2016 these companies got money from outside the country to revamp their factories but the money was frozen by the US.

The reality is, with sanctions it’s really hard to move money into Zimbabwe because banks can be fined for dealing with sanctioned companies.

Standard Chartered had to close IDC bank accounts and in April 2019 it was fined USD18million for dealing with sanctioned companies.

Banks around the world works together in what is called correspondent banking relationships (CBR). When an individual uses a card in one country the local bank uses its relationship with the bank of another country to clear the transactions.

According to the Reserve bank of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwean banks has lost a number of these relationships. Therefore, as a result of sanctions international banks are hesitant to deal with Zimbabwe. With regards to private companies it’s difficult to access international capital.

It should be noted that private companies might be able to access capital but at a high risk premium as Zimbabwean is considered a high risk zone.

Various impacts can be mentioned but all I am saying is arkness cannot put out darkness only light can do that. Sanctions are a dark instrument. There is a major and minor premise to the effect of sanctions to Zimbabwe. The minor premise is the reason of their existence.

However, the major premise is the Zimbabweans are suffering from hunger and starvation and sanctions are playing a bigger role in stifling the economy. Zimbabwe is in dire need of economic resuscitation.

So I say today to you my European and American friends if we don’t have love nothing will change. Perhaps you ought to re-examine sanctions. Its economic multiplier effects to million poor Zimbabweans cannot be underplayed.

Despite Zimbabwean past and current mistakes, the system of sanctions is morally wrong and sinful!

My inspiration is apolitical, my inspiration comes from a higher synthesis, a kingdom of brotherhood.

As for my Zimbabwean counterparts, this is no time for romantic illusion and empty philosophical political debates about Zimbabwean freedom.

It’s a time for action. What is needed is a strategy for change. A tactical program that will bring back the Zimbabwean into the mainstream of the world economy. A commitment by every Zimbabwean to denounce sanctions is one important tactical agenda.

 

Eddison N Shumba is a businessman and entrepreneur

 

 

 

 

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