Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the campaign against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe to the 49th edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
WEF brings together governments, corporates, donors, the academia, labour and other high level players who control the global socio-economic levers.
Speaking at an International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting in Switzerland yesterday ahead of the WEF, President Ramaphosa said the sanctions against Zimbabwe were stifling the country’s economic growth.
“Zimbabwe has emerged from a very difficult political situation and they held recent elections which went well. But they still have sanctions that many countries around the world have imposed on them,” said President Ramaphosa.
“We are some of those who have been calling on the world to relax the sanctions or lift the sanctions altogether so that Zimbabwe can begin to operate in an economic manner with the capabilities that it has . . .,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said Zimbabwe was facing economic challenges which the world can assist in addressing if the sanctions were lifted.
Zimbabwe has been labouring under illegal Western sanctions which have hurt the economy for about 20 years.
The South African President said while South Africa is in negotiations with Zimbabwe to find solutions to its challenges, the world must help the situation by lifting sanctions placed on the country.
President Ramaphosa said plans were underway for him to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa at a later stage.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner and the two nations share a rich history that predates colonialism.
Last year, President Ramaphosa, also called on the European Union (EU) to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe saying the country has turned a wonderful corner and needs support on its path to great reforms.
He made the call to the EU leaders during last year’s 7th South Africa European Union Summit in Brussels, Belgium where they discussed a number of issues around trade, climate change, women’s rights among other global issues.
Upon his assumption of Office as the Head of State and Government in November 2017, President Mnangagwa’s first foreign visit was to South Africa.
He met President Ramaphosa and former President Jacob Zuma as part of moves to deepen economic ties between Harare and Pretoria.
President Mnangagwa was also scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, but opted to cancel the final leg of his tour to come and attend to the economic situation back home.
This followed three days of violence last week during a stay away called by the opposition MDC-Alliance and ZCTU which left a trail of destruction and cost the economy millions of dollars.
Hundreds of protestors, including self-proclaimed pastor Evan Mawarire of the shadowy #ThisFlag campaign and opposition MPs, have since been arrested in connection with the violent demonstrations which saw protesters looting and burning shops, cars and vandalising property.