WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), today reintroduced S. 1646 the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2011. This legislation repeals the economic sanctions originally imposed on Zimbabwe in 2001 under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act. Inhofe first introduced this legislation last year in the 111th Congress.
In 2001, economic sanctions were imposed against Zimbabwe as a result of President Robert Mugabe’s oppressive leadership and fiscally irresponsible programs that collapsed the economy. These sanctions specifically directed the U.S. to oppose and vote against any extension of loans, credits, or guarantees to the Government of Zimbabwe from the United States or any international financial institution.
As a result of a 2008 power-sharing agreement engineered by the Southern African Development Community and the United States, Mugabe remains as President, but the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai holds the post of Prime Minister. Under this new government, the Zimbabwe economy is starting to recover and democratic freedoms are reemerging. Repealing the 2001 sanctions will allow the Zimbabwe economy to recover and fully assist in its process of transition to democracy.
“As a result of the 2008 power-sharing agreement brokered by the Southern African Development Community and the United States, Zimbabwe’s economy continues to recover and its citizens begin to rebuild their lives,” said Inhofe. I applaud the efforts of Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government, as their inflation rate has been drastically reduced and the real gross domestic product (GDP) has improved and is expected to increase by 9.3 percent during 2011. However, the economic sanctions imposed by the United States in 2001 continue to be a burden on this African nation’s economy. S. 1646 is absolutely necessary to assisting the Zimbabwe by fully restoring the nation’s economy and helping Zimbabwe transition into a democracy. With this, I hope that Zimbabwe can once again become the ‘Breadbasket of Africa.’