BY MOSES MATENGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa appears to have given up on the fight for the removal of West-imposed sanctions and is shifting focus to internal sources of finance for key government projects.
The country has been under sanctions since 2001 from the United States and the European Union in response to human rights violations and alleged electoral theft by the late former President Robert Mugabe.
Mnangagwa, who took over power in a November 2017, after the military ended Mugabe’s 37-year reign, embarked on politics of re-engagement with the hope of pushing the West to remove the sanctions, which he claims was hurting the country by shutting the much-needed lines of credit.
But critics say human rights violations have increased under his leadership and the US has renewed the sanctions regime, adding new names to the list.
Mnangagwa even cajoled the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and the African Union into supporting his anti-sanctions crusade, but that has also failed to sway the West.
Speaking at the launch of the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) Holdings Ltd in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said the project should “close the gaps” left by the sanctions imposed by the West on the country.
“The AFC Holdings will also meet the financial gaps which resulted following the withdrawal of support after the imposition of illegal economic sanctions,” he said.
“Now that the irreversible land reform programme is behind us, collective focus must be on production, productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agriculture sector.
“To achieve this, my administration saw it fit to develop unique and responsive alternative financial solutions such as portfolios we are launching today. These and other strategies should make our agriculture sector work better for our economy.”
Mnangagwa, who once said sanctions should not be used as an excuse for failure, said his government was focused on realigning policies to support the agriculture transformation in line with his national development strategy and Vision 2030.
The AFC Holdings will have four subsidiaries, including the Land Bank, meant to ensure long-term financing of the sector.
It will also have a leasing company and an insurer among its subsidiaries.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba took to microblogging site Twitter before Mnangagwa’s speech saying:: “We have come to realise we are on our own. With the people, the land and God, Zimbabwe has all it takes to prosper.
“The President urges Zimbabweans to be a thinking people who are not run on foreign ideas which operate uninterrogated.”
Mnangagwa also urged youths to use their talent locally and not be fascinated about going overseas for employment and relying on others.
“This requires the minds of the younger generation to cease to look across the seas for employment, but use their own inherent talent as boys and girls to develop their mother land,” he said.
Mnangagwa told local farmers to look for potential international markets.
“We realised we have a market for one day’s breakfast in China and that is a huge market,” he said.
“The results achieved to date under the second republic are due to bold decisive and sometimes painful but focused planning coupled with timely implementation.”
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa ordered Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka to find replacements to English names on dams such as Causeway and Silverstream.
- Follow Moses on Twitter @mmatenga