HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The Zimbabwe government is looking for local and international
researchers to carry out an in-depth study on the impact of economic sanctions
imposed by the West in the early 2000s following the country’s controversial
land reform program and contested governance issues.
A statement from
the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology
Development Monday said the sanctions had mainly been described from a political
"This has led to varying views being expressed depending on one’s political
inclination," the statement said.
The study will cover the sanctions’ impact on ordinary people in particular
and the country and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in
general and has a budget of 150,000 U.S. dollars.
"In reality, the core characteristics of these sanctions were initiated by
the temporary withdrawal of Zimbabwe’s credit lines by the World Bank in 1997.
This was followed by a complete termination of Balance of Payments (BoP) support
to the country in 2001," the statement said.
"The African Development Bank similarly stopped Zimbabwe’s BoP support in
1998 and so did the International Monetary Fund in 1999," the statement said.
The socio-economic environment caused by the sanctions had resulted in
several donor agencies and international non-governmental organizations
relocating to neighboring countries, it added.
"It has since been estimated that the sanctions have cost Zimbabwe well in
excess of 42 billion U.S. dollars, since 2001, which seriously affected various
vulnerable groups of the country’s population," the statement said.
The ministry further argued that also as a result of the sanctions, many
skilled Zimbabweans had left the country, thereby creating a huge human capital
capacity gap, while technology transfer from advanced countries suffered
Debate has raged over the years on the impact of the sanctions, with the
government calling them such while opposition parties and western governments
called them restrictive measures.
The European Union (EU) and the United States (U.S.) have been at the center
of the sanctions, with the U.S. targeted sanctions applying to 98 Zimbabwean
individuals and 68 entities (mostly farms and legal entities owned by the 98
individuals) as of March 14, 2016.
The U.S. said it implemented the targeted sanctions program in 2003 as a
result of the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of
Zimbabwe and other persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in
It also denies that it maintains an embargo on Zimbabwe, saying that only
certain persons have been targeted for sanctions on the basis of their
connection to the Government of Zimbabwe.
The U.S. also denies that it is preventing Zimbabwe’s access to international
financial assistance and says that Zimbabwe became ineligible for multilateral
loans in 1999, well before the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA),
because it had stopped repaying loans owed to international financial
The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Junior acknowledged in June that
the sanctions, although targeted, might have had a negative bearing on ordinary
"However, we’ve not carried out a study to ascertain the effects of the
sanctions, but we have to try to sort out the unintended consequences of
sanctions to ordinary people out there," he was quoted as saying.
On its part, the EU early this year renewed its remaining sanctions against
Zimbabwe for a further year, until 20 February 2017, meaning an asset freeze and
travel ban will continue to apply to President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
While an arms embargo exists, the EU has however lifted sanctions on 78 other
people and eight entities in respect of whom sanctions had previously been in
Zimbabwean President Mugabe has over the years taken every opportunity to
denounce the "illegal sanctions" saying that they were a tool by the West to
effect regime change in the country.