South Africa ready to help revive Zimbabwe’s economy

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday expressed his country’s readiness to help Zimbabwe revive its economy, but he clarified that would be done within its means.

“South Africa, Mr President, stands ready to render support to Zimbabwe within our means in your quest for economic renewal,” Ramaphosa said in Zimbabwe during the third session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC) with his counterpart, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Ramaphosa’s visit is part of efforts to strengthen mutual cooperation and deepen the implementation of 45 bilateral agreements during the BNC session.

South Africa, whose economy is Africa’s most advanced, had last year turned down Zimbabwe’s $1.2 billion loan request, with National Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane saying “South Africa doesn’t have that kind of money”, but Ramaphosa has opened doors to some level of support for the neighbour facing dollar shortages, making it difficult to purchase essential commodities such as fuel and even drugs and food. This is making it more difficult for the economy to recover following the ouster of Robert Mugabe, who was removed in a coup in 2017.

Although, Ramaphosa did not give details on whether the support promised would entail financial help, he maintained his country’s commitment to its neighbour, with which it shares “sound bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle”.

South Africa itself just recovered from a recession, with current growth still far below the country’s potential. While his country tries its best to help, Ramaphosa also urged foreign donors to support Zimbabwe.

“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.”