The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the premier business organisation in the country, is made up of thousands of local Zimbabwean, British, European and other foreign companies. It says it is opposed to the imposition of further sanctions on Zimbabwe as a means of encouraging resolution of the current political impasse. This, coming from an organisation that has had running battles with Mugabe's government in the past, is quite significant. We reproduce below the CZI's statement on sanctions released in Harare on 9 July. It was signed by its president.
Sanctions on Zimbabwe have been in place since the disputed 2002 presidential elections. The majority of the sanctions are said to be targeted; however the United States has legislation in place that prevents their representatives on multilateral institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank from voting in favour of support for Zimbabwe. Given the fact that the United States has de facto veto power in these institutions, Zimbabwe is in effect cut off from financial assistance from both the IMF and World Bank.
The purported further tightening of sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West will no doubt further worsen the already crippling foreign currency shortages-more so in light of the completely drying up of external lines of credit. This will have serious adverse effects on industry, which is already struggling under difficult conditions. Business is opposed to sanctions, of whatever nature or form; and totally supports dialogue as the only means of resolving differences.
Sanctions are a cost to the ordinary person, and to business in Zimbabwe. Any imposition of added sanctions would make the situation of the ordinary Zimbabwean far worse than it is today, including business. This is a wrong way of solving the Zimbabwean problem. Sanctions to date have done nothing other than cause misery for ordinary Zimbabweans, and the business enterprises from which they earn their living.
Already reeling from capacity utilisation levels well below 20%, industry will no doubt suffer catastrophic consequences from any further sanctions on the country, as these will severely prejudice our ability to clinch business deals with the international community. Without full capacity utilisation, employment levels will further fall, thus rendering a greater number of people without meaningful means of earning a living.
Foreign tourism particularly becomes an obvious and immediate...