SADC wants sanctions on Zimbabwe lifted

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Windhoek – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa will assume the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) next year. 

Mnangagwa was elected as the next chair at the 38th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, which ended in Windhoek on Saturday.

Sharing the resolutions of the summit, SADC Executive Secretary, Stergomena Tax said Mnangagwa would take over from Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who chairs the organ this year.

Tax said the summit also urged the international community to lift all sanctions against Zimbabwe and support the country in its economic and social development efforts.

The European Union and United States of America imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000, after they accused its former president Robert Mugabe of suppressing human rights, rigging elections and repression of press freedom, which led to devastating economic challenges.

Reuters news agency reported last year that while the European Union removed sanctions on Zimbabwe’s ruling party officials, members of the military and some government-owned firms in 2014, the United States has kept a travel and economic embargo on several ruling party elites.

Tax added that the summit further approved the operationalisation of the SADC University of Transformation, in the form of a virtual university.

The virtual university will focus on entrepreneurship, innovation, commercialisation, technology transfer, enterprise development and digital and knowledge economy to support the SADC industrialisation agenda.

The leaders of the SADC countries expressed concern on the slow implementation of the reforms roadmap and national dialogue in Lesotho and resolved not to entertain any further delays in its implementation. SADC member states were called on to take necessary measures against countries with intentions to delay or threaten to derail reforms and national dialogue processes. The summit further resolved to continue providing the necessary funding and logistical requirements to enable the holding of peaceful and credible elections in SADC countries. 

Member states that have not yet signed or ratified the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement were urged to expeditiously finalise the exchange of tariff offers, and pave the way for the implementation of the agreement.

Recommendations were also made for the SADC countries to scale up efforts aimed at diversifying their economies and improving domestic revenue collection mechanisms as well as managing public expenditures. - Nampa

 

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