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Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Neighbourhood worries...

Emerging concerns on the negative economic impact of the worsening Zimbabwe situation on neighbouring countries. Something that explains why some are more vocal than others :

Mozambique :

In his annual report, bank chief Ernesto Gove said that Mozambique's economy grew by 7.3 percent in 2007 but he warned that the situation across its western border was already impacting on the prospects of further progress. "In the SADC region, the political and economic problems in Zimbabwe remained unchanged, with tendencies to escalate, creating adverse side effects for the neighbouring countries like Mozambique," said Gove.

Zimbabwe has been one of Mozambique's biggest regional partners, using the country's ports of Beira and Maputo to access sea routes to move goods to and from international markets. As Zimbabwe faces an increasing political and economic crisis, mass food shortages and sky high inflation, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have fled to Mozambique in search of jobs.

Botswana :

The Zimbabwe political crisis is expected to over-stretch Botswana’s budget as the country is positioning itself to receive thousands of political refugees following the flawed presidential run-off election last week that saw Robert Mugabe competing against himself, Foreign Affairs Minister, Phandu Skelemani said Friday. He said the crisis is likely to trigger an escalation for asylum seekers at a time when Zimbabwe’s neighbours are already struggling with a problem of economic refugees from that country.

“This is going to add a financial burden and I cannot commit or even guess the scale of the burden. It is going to be a costly exercise,” he said, adding that they “hope that the international community will come to our help”. “ We are going to need the manpower, petrol to collect these people from different points of the country and then feed them,” he added.

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