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The government of Zimbabwe claims that it has suffered losses of over $150 billion due to sanctions.
Africa Economy

The government of Zimbabwe claims that it has suffered losses of over $150 billion due to sanctions.

The vice president of Zimbabwe stated on Wednesday that the country has suffered a loss of over $150 billion as a result of sanctions placed by the European Union and nations like the United States, prompted by allegations of election tampering and violations of human rights in the early 2000s.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga addressed demonstrators protesting the sanctions and expressed concern that the sanctions were negatively impacting not only their country, but the entire southern African region as well.

He referred to the sanctions as a burden on Zimbabwe, which includes financial limitations that isolate the country from international capital.

Zimbabwe's Vice President Constantino Chiwenga addresses demonstrators rallying against sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, Oct. 25, 2023, in Harare. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

On October 25, 2023, in Harare, Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga gave a speech to a group of demonstrators protesting against the sanctions placed on the country.

According to Chiwenga, sanctions have caused Zimbabwe to lose or miss out on more than $150 billion since 2001. These sanctions include frozen assets, trade embargos, export and investment restrictions, as well as limitations on potential bilateral support, development loans, IMF and World Bank balance of payments support, and commercial loans. Chiwenga denounces these sanctions as “heinous and illegal.”

According to Stevenson Dhlamini, an economics professor at National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe, the proposed amount of $150 billion aligns with the estimates given by the Zimbabwean government over time.

“The cumulative effect of the sanctions by the U.S., EU and the U.K. do have a cumulative impact that could be to that level,” Dhlamini said.

Not everyone agrees.

According to Prosper Chitambara, a senior economist at the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, there are various factors that have impacted the country’s economy, rather than solely relying on sanctions.

Economist Prosper Chitambara in Harere in October 2023 says there are more factors hurting the country's economy than just international sanctions. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

In October 2023, Economist Prosper Chitambara stated in Harare that there are additional factors negatively impacting the economy of the country beyond international sanctions. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

He stated, “It is challenging and time-consuming to differentiate the impact of sanctions, corruption, external shocks, and climate-induced shocks.” He added, “Calculating a precise number is a difficult task.”

Following the demonstration, which primarily drew civil servants and supporters of the ruling Zanu PF party, Chiwenga pledged that Zimbabwe’s economy would overcome the impact of sanctions.

He expressed that the sanctions against Zimbabwe are causing significant harm to its citizens. He believes that if not for the sanctions, the country could have made significant strides in terms of economic development. He attributes the imposition of sanctions to the redistribution of land to the local population from white commercial farmers. Any other reasons for the sanctions are deemed as irrelevant.

He stated, “We have a unique approach,” and continued, “Therefore, regardless of any imposed restrictions, Zimbabwe will thrive.”

The possibility of removing the sanctions was ruined when multiple observation missions, such as the Southern African Development Community, declared that Zimbabwe’s general election on August 23 was not credible.