HARARE (Reuters) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday his country was ready to help Zimbabwe’s economic revival, but within its means, and urged foreign donors to support a country whose economy has been squeezed by a severe dollar crunch.
The dearth of U.S. dollars in the economy has fanned shortages of fuel, drugs and food, choking an economy yet to recover from the disastrous rule of Robert Mugabe, who was removed in a coup in 2017.
South Africa said in January that it had turned down a request in December from its southern African neighbour for a $1.2 billion loan.
Ramaphosa told a meeting during a visit to Zimbabwe, which also faces a severe drought this year, that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government deserved support from the rest of the world to reboot its economy.
“South Africa, Mr President, stands ready to render support to Zimbabwe within our means in your quest for economic renewal,” Ramaphosa said, without giving details on whether this would entail financial help.
“We want to see meaningful support being given by international development partners to Zimbabwe because Zimbabwe does deserve the support that the world can give.”
Rampahosa also repeated his previous call for sanctions against Zimbabwe to be lifted. [
Zimbabwe says U.S. sanctions, which were extended by another year by President Donald Trump last week, throttle its ability to access funding from lenders like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and raise its political risk profile.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner and home to millions of Zimbabweans who flocked to the country amid an economic meltdown during Mugabe’s rule.
Mnangagwa pledged to protect South African businesses operating in Zimbabwe, which range from mining to manufacturing to construction.