Zimbabwe: Top Economist Says Sanctions Not Biggest Problem

Renowned economist Godfrey Kanyenze has dismissed claims that the sanctions are the greatest albatross for Zimbabwe’s economy, choosing to pin the blame on government mismanagement.

The remarks, first featured in the academic’s new book published last week titled ‘Leaving so many behind-The Link between Politics and the Economy of Zimbabwe’, come shortly after economic sanctions were renewed by the European Union and the United States.

Reacting to the renewal of the sanctions, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube criticized the development, arguing that the sanctions have cost Zimbabwe $42 billion since their inception, a blame the book criticizes.

“To blame everything on the sanctions is a step too far as it does not take into account other critical factors that can simultaneously impact the economy and the various affected groups,” Kanyenze said.

“When the various measures and sanctions were imposed since December 2001, the economy was already in crisis, with the government defaulting on the repayment of its arrears in 1999, which led to the International Financial Flows (IFIs) withdrawing their financial support “, did he declare.

In fact, he says in the book, by the time the sanctions were imposed, Zimbabwe was already in a serious economic crisis, which began in the late 1990s.

The book points out that the unprecedented economic rebound during the GNU era, even amid the continued existence of sanctions and restrictive measures, contradicts the sanctions blame game.

“The post-GNU era marked the return of fiscal indiscipline and factional infighting that ended the recovery and returned the economy to performance below the average for sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. global economy, suggesting the importance of non-sanctions factors in explaining the poor performance,” argues Kanyenze.

The book points out that while ZIDERA mandates US IFI board officials to block support for Zimbabwe, they have not been called upon to do so.

He said that while Zimbabwe had a negative trade balance with the rest of the world between 2006 and 2018, it enjoyed a positive trade balance with the EU during the period. Zimbabwe enjoyed a trade surplus with the United States during the period 2000-2008, with the exception of 2007.

Using a chronological sequencing of events, the book indicates that the sanctions measures, at best, exacerbated an already rapidly unfolding crisis and responded to the deterioration of governance, the rule of law, human rights human and economic management scenario.

“However, the denial on the part of the Zimbabwean state that there is a crisis imposes an obstacle on the way forward.

“There is therefore a need for more analysis on the different understandings of the Zimbabwean crisis and the political and institutional constraints at the national, regional and international levels,” the book adds.