The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will this month convene an extraordinary summit to discuss Zimbabwe’s appeal for financial support after a decade of economic collapse under Zanu PF rule.
South African foreign affairs minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, told the media last Friday that a venue and date for the summit had yet to be agreed upon but it would most likely be held before the upcoming G20 meeting on April 2 in London.
The summit, follows recommendations by the region’s finance ministers who met in Cape Town last week. “It is not easy to just call a meeting of heads of state,” she said. She however added that it had been agreed that it should be soon, “but not like tomorrow.”
Dr Dlamini-Zuma said Zimbabwe had indicated that it would need about $2 billion, one billion in the form of credit and the other one billion in the form of development budget support. While reaffirming the need for SADC to help Zimbabwe, she said Zimbabwe had a plan on how the money would be used and the region believed it would indeed be used properly for the purpose it was intended for.
“The ministers responsible for finance and investment undertook to pursue measures in support of Zimbabwe’s economic recovery programme, namely collectively engaging bilateral and multilateral donors through SADC and the African Union.
“Facilitating the normalisation of the status of Zimbabwe at the International Monetary Fund, and the lifting of sanctions, both political and financial, within the spirits of the global political agreement, and convening an extraordinary summit of SADC heads of state and government to consider the financing proposals submitted by Zimbabwe,” she said.
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai two weeks ago formed a unity government raising hopes of many people in the country and within the region of an economic recovery.
Zimbabwe needs the cash to help stimulate economic activity and to restore basic services such as health and education. Work by the inclusive government has seen teachers agree to go back to school tomorrow to kick-start the first term of the year that was due in mid January.
While SADC has taken an active role in helping the country recover Western governments have said they will adopt a wait and see attitude insisting on, “democracy, media freedom and tangible evidence of genuine political and economic reform in the country.”
“As SADC, it is our responsibility together with the international community to accompany the Zimbabwe people as they endeavour to address their economic challenges as well as the humanitarian problems,” Dr Dlamini-Zuma said.
She called on western governments to lift sanctions that were imposed by the West under the banner of targeted sanctions but have however affected the entire country.