Wednesday, June 06, 2007

SADC economists assess Zim's economic situation

SADC economists assess Zim's economic situation
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Wednesday June 06, 2007 [16:37]

A TEAM of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) economists has commenced an assessment of Zimbabwe’s economic situation which will allow SADC to come up with measures to help the country. SADC executive secretary Dr Thomaz Salomao accompanied the three economists, who arrived in the country over the weekend. Their visit is a follow-up of the mission Dr Salomao was assigned by the SADC heads of state and government at the last extraordinary summit in Dar-Es-Salaam to undertake a study on the economic situation in Zimbabwe and propose measures on how SADC could assist the country’s economic recovery programmes.

The directives also included a mandate for President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa to facilitate dialogue between the Zimbabwean government and the opposition. The SADC economists, who include a Malawian national Mapopa Chipeta, and a Tanzanian, would remain in the country for another week meeting various economic stakeholders while Dr Salomao leaves at the weekend.

The team has so far held talks with officials of the Zimbabwean ministry of foreign affairs, and is expected to meet other ministries such as finance, agriculture, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other economic movers.

SADC has recommended an approach to economic assistance where the region is expected to assist in the implementation of Zimbabwe’s existing programmes, a departure from other approaches touting regime change. After the study, Dr Salomao and the economists are expected to compile a report that should be presented to the SADC troika by the end of June 2007.

The report will contain recommendations on how SADC countries can help it fly over its economic challenges.

In Dar-Es-Salaam, SADC made major decisions on Zimbabwe which included a demand for ending all forms of sanctions against the country, the need for the former coloniser, Britain, under the Lancaster Agreement, to honour its obligation to compensate for land reforms and chose South African president Thabo Mbeki to mediate between government and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

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