3 Regional relations|
51. DFID states that Zimbabwe's economy and its external
relations are tied into the region in three ways:
the prominent political role played by Zimbabwe in regional institutions
such as SADC and the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa
trade links facilitated by these institutions; and
· by significant
outward migration from Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe had a greater regional economic role in
Southern Africa until 1994, when apartheid ended in South Africa.
Many businesses, NGOs and media organisations which had their
headquarters in Harare have now moved to South Africa, thereby
diminishing the role of Harare in the region. Zimbabwe's trade
volumes have extensively declined as the economic crisis has developed.
Professor Brett said that "Zimbabwe used to be the major
player after South Africa in the regional economy and all of that
has gone [... it] has imposed huge losses on everybody in that
Crisis Group highlighted the major regional impact which Zimbabwe's
recovery could make: "a prosperous Zimbabwe could be an engine
of growth for the region, providing key links to regional communications,
transport and electricity grids." 
52. Zimbabwe used to produce large amounts of agricultural
surpluses that were exported to neighbouring countries and the
rest of the world. Since the collapse of the economy and the huge
reduction in agricultural productivity, Zimbabwe has been unable
to supply vital food crops to its neighbours, and has required
food aid to feed its own people. Ending food exports to its neighbours
has contributed to the strains in its relations with them.
53. When our predecessors examined the humanitarian
crisis in southern Africa in 2003 they reported that the "dire
situation in Zimbabwe has major implications for the rest of southern
Africa [...] as regards both the availability and price of food,
especially maize, and the delivery of food aid and commercial
imports." At the time DFID commented:
The fact that Zimbabwe, normally a food supplier
and a key transit country, has suffered such a collapse in agricultural
production has made the situation in neighbouring countries worse
and weakened the prospects for recovery; for the longer term,
it throws into question one of the bases of food security planning
in southern Africa for the last 20 years, namely that surpluses
would normally be available in Zimbabwe.
Since 2003, the situation has further deteriorated,
with more commercial farms having been appropriated and agricultural
production continuing to fall.
54. High unemployment, compounded by political instability
and violence, has driven tens of thousands of professional and
skilled workers to leave Zimbabwe to find work abroad. Steve Kibble
explained that it was difficult to calculate accurately the number
of people who have left Zimbabwe. Some attempts have been made
to do this, either by counting them or by extrapolating from what
the population would have been, taking into account the HIV/AIDS
epidemic and other factors. He concluded that the estimated numbers
of migrants was "up to three million". The majority
of skilled migrants are in South Africa, Botswana or the UK.
Millions of less-skilled workers have migrated to other
Southern African countries and Europe.
55. South Africa has the largest population of Zimbabwean
emigrants with an official estimate of just over one million,
although DFID says that the real number is likely to be significantly
higher. 82% of emigrants are estimated to have a formal qualification
and 38% a first or higher degree.
Dr Kibble explained that there was a problem in that local people
in neighbouring countries saw Zimbabweans living there purely
as economic migrants who were simply seeking jobs, and took the
view that it was "nothing to do with the current crisis inside
the point was also made to us in informal discussions that South
Africa had benefited economically from the influx of skilled and
professional Zimbabweans and also from the pool of cheap Zimbabwean
labour for construction work associated with preparations for
the football World Cup this year.
56. Relations between Zimbabwe and its southern neighbours,
South Africa and Botswana, have deteriorated due to this migration.
International Crisis Group says that "instability in Zimbabwe
is profoundly destabilizing to its neighbours. Zimbabweans fleeing
economic hardship and political abuses have flooded across borders,
overwhelming the social services and the good will of South Africa,
Botswana, and other neighbours".
Malawi has had to cope with different problems arising from its
citizens returning from Zimbabwe, following the closure of many
mines there, where Malawians had been employed. Meanwhile, the
plight of former farm-workers in Zimbabwe, who were largely of
Malawian descent, has caused tensions between the countries.
Southern African Development
57. ACTSA told us that the "region wants a resolution
to the crisis of Zimbabwe" but that the solution "has
to come from Zimbabwe, facilitated and encouraged by the region."
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is taking the
lead in supporting the mediation process in Zimbabwe, on behalf
of the African Union. 
Zimbabwe has played a prominent role in SADC since independence.
SADC now has 15 member states. Its vision is:
[...] one of a common future, within a regional
community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of
the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social
justice; peace and security for the peoples of Southern Africa.
This shared vision is anchored on the common values and principles
and the historical and cultural affinities that exist amongst
the peoples of Southern Africa.
SADC has agreed that South Africa should mediate
on its behalf in Zimbabwe. As we have described, SADC facilitated
agreement on the GPA and the formation of the GNU, under the mediation
of the then South African President, Thabo Mbeki.
58. According to Donald Steinberg, South Africa is
applying pressure on the parties in Zimbabwe to implement the
GPA fully, but he believes it needs to do so with the co-operation
of the international community.
The DFID Minister considered that SADC had a key role to play
in resolving Zimbabwe's economic problems, and that it had accepted
that role in terms of acting as guarantor of the GPA. President
Zuma of South Africa had appointed a "high-level team with
significant reputations [...] to lead on [the] mediation process".
The Minister was encouraged that this process was in progress;
he told us that it should be respected and that the UK was monitoring
the situation closely. He stressed that the UK looked to the "leadership
of both South Africa and SADC [...] to provide that on-the-spot
mediation work that they are doing."
59. Following the formation of the GNU, SADC members
have also urged the African Development Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, the World Bank and western donors to support the
GNU financially. ACTSA noted that South African businesses were
increasing investment in Zimbabwe and that private sector investment
from across the region could assist economic recovery.
60. SADC has also been involved in the land reform
issue. The SADC Tribunal ruled on 28 November 2008 that Zimbabwe's
planned seizure of dozens of white-owned farms violated international
law and should be halted immediately. The Economist took
the view that the Zimbabwean authorities had displayed their contempt
for SADC decisions by pouring scorn on the judgment that had "ruled
in favour of 79 white farmers whose land had been targeted for
confiscation under Mr Mugabe's land-reform programme". It
reported a Zimbabwean Government official as saying the tribunal
was "daydreaming" if it thought the Government would
comply with the ruling.
Dr Kibble considered that, although a judgment might be passed
by the SADC Tribunal, there was no mechanism to put the judgment
into practice "without the SADC political organisations taking
part and that [...] is obviously much trickier."
Professor Brett told us:
SADC and South Africa are seen as legitimate
interlocutors by both parties [ZANU-PF and the MDC], but the MDC
and civic organisations claim, with some justice, that their explicit
or implicit support for ZANU over the past decade enabled it to
manipulate elections, retain political power and destroy the economy.
They did help to broker the GPA but have failed to oblige ZANU
to honour its agreements. However, they have been forced to deal
with the MDC since the 2008 victory, and do recognise the need
for a viable solution to reduce the heavy costs that the crisis
has imposed on the region.
61. The member states of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) are the guarantors of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). We believe that the UK Government should
urge SADC collectively, and South Africa in particular, to continue
to work with the Government of National Unity towards full implementation
of the GPA. We are disappointed that Zimbabwe has defied the SADC
Tribunal ruling on land seizures. Zimbabwe should recognise the
authority of SADC. The fact that there are no mechanisms for enforcement
of the ruling is a matter of concern to us and should be addressed.
62. SADC should also fully support economic recovery
in Zimbabwe. This would bring wider benefits to the whole region,
not just to Zimbabwe itself. It would also encourage Zimbabwean
migrants to return and help address the tensions which the large
number of migrants in neighbouring countries has caused.
77 Ev 62 Back
Ev 62 Back
Q 10 [Professor Brett] Back
Ev 80 Back
Third Report of Session 2003-03, The Humanitarian Crisis in
Southern Africa, HC 116-I, para 33 Back
Q 10 [Dr Kibble]. See also Dr Steve Kibble, "Who Controls
the 'New' Zimbabwe", February 2009, p 3 [Unpublished paper] Back
Ev 63 Back
Q 10 [Dr Kibble] Back
Ev 80 Back
Security and Democracy in Southern Africa, International
Development Research Centre, 2007, Chapter 14, available at www.idrc.ca/institution Back
Ev 37 Back
Ev 62 Back
See SADC website at www.sadc.int Back
Q 11 Back
Qs 65-68 Back
Ev 37 Back
"Reaching Rock Bottom", The Economist, 4 December
Q 12 [Dr Kibble] Back
Ev 40 Back