Economic commentators have reacted following the addition of four Zimbabwean nationals and two Zimbabwean companies to the United States sanctions list.
The four individuals are Emmerson Mnangagwa, Jr., Kudakwashe Tagwirei’s wife, Sandra Mpunga, Nqobile Magwizi, and Obey Chimuka, along with the two companies, Fossil Agro and Fossil Contracting.
In a statement, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it designated the four individuals and two companies for corruption and human rights abuses.
Speaking to VOA News, Gift Mugano, an economics professor at the Durban University of Technology, said the sanctions are making it difficult for Zimbabwe to attract investors and get capital for essential projects such as power plants.
He, however, said corruption and wrong priorities are also negatively impacting the country’s economy. Mugano said:
When you are under sanctions, you must be more careful and prudent when using your resources.
The case in point is the 35 million US dollars which is being given to members of parliament and ministers, the package which they have been given.
But we do not have basics in the hospitals. Thirty-five million dollars for Zimbabwe can be a game changer.
Gibson Nyikadzino, an independent analyst, told VOA News that the U.S. sanctions are hurting Zimbabwe’s economy. Said Nyikadzino:
Because there is a failure to access foreign capital, and capital markets, there is a failure even to import critical equipment.
So, the whole idea of sanctions is to ensure that the economy of Zimbabwe screams and that is the first essence of why the West imposed sanctions, and even to today, the economy is being hurt.
However, the United States, Britain and European Union officials have long rejected claims by Zimbabwe that sanctions are making Zimbabweans suffer.
The architects of the sanctions insist that sanctions target individuals and certain companies rather than state institutions.
Piers Pigou, a senior consultant for southern African human rights watchdog, International Crisis Group, said:
There is no doubt that the sanctions have an impact on aspects of the economy. In some instances directly as it relates to individual entities and individuals that are on the list.
What is difficult is to calculate the extent of that impact. Particularly in a context where there are multiple other factors relating to delinquencies and governance.
| VOA News