Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act Of 2001

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Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act Of 2001 was passed and ratified by the United States of America Congress and allegedly meant To provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (S. 494) imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe, allegedly to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery. Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act Of 2001

In August 2019, President Donald Trump signed a ZDERA Ammendments Bill into law, effectively reaffirming the snactions on Zimbabwe under the new presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The government of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe claimed that the sanctions were behind the economic problems in Zimbabwe. Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe's successor also made the same call on sanctions and used the "Zimbabwe is open for business" mantra in a bid to cultivate Zimbabwe's re-engagement with the West. However, Todd Moss of the Washington-based Center for Global Development dismissed claims that Zimbabwe’s government was opening up the climate for investment, and that sanctions are hurting the country.[1]


ZIDERA was passed by Senate with 91% (396 votes) of Congress voting in favor of the bill. Of the 396 votes, 194 were Democrats, 200 were Republicans, and 2 were Independent. 3% (11 votes) of Congress voted against ZDERA: 2 Democrats, 8 Republicans, and 1 Independent. 6% (26 votes) did not vote, 15 Democrats and 11 Republicans.[2]

ZIDERA's policy was allegedly meant to "support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to attain peaceful, democratic change, achieve broad-based and equitable economic growth, and restore the rule of law."[3] This policy was supported by the following findings made by the U.S. Congress:

Reasons for its enactment

  1. The Government of Zimbabwe was unable to participate programs created by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Monetary Fund Program (IMF) to assist in the transformation and resuscitation of Zimbabwe's economy. Economic mismanagement, undemocratic practices, and the deployment of troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo" by the Zimbabwean Government.[4]


ZDERA proposed two sectors of financial support for the Zimbabwean economy under the imposed sanctions.

  1. Bilateral debt relief: the Secretary of the Treasury would conduct a review of the ability of "restructuring, rescheduling, or eliminating the sovereign debt of Zimbabwe held by any agency of the U.S. Government."
  2. Multilateral debt relief and other financial assistance: the Secretary of the Treasury would be allowed to direct the U.S. executive director of each multilateral development bank to "propose that the bank should undertake a review of the feasibility of restructuring, rescheduling, or eliminating the sovereign debt of Zimbabwe held by that bank" as well as to instruct the U.S. executive director of international financial organizations to which the U.S. is a member to proposition financial and technical support for Zimbabwe. Particularly if these means promoted "economic recovery and development, the stabilization of the Zimbabwean dollar, and the viability of Zimbabwe's democratic institutions.

Financial sanctions and requalifications

The Secretary of the Treasury instructed the U.S. executive director of each international financial institution to "oppose and vote against" the following.

  1. any extension by the respective institution of any loan credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe
  2. any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United State or any international financial institution

The following were certifications that once satisfied would lift the aforementioned restrictions

  • Restoration of the rule of law: including “respect for ownership and title to property, freedom of speech and association, and an end to the lawlessness, violence, and intimidation sponsored, condoned, or tolerated by the Government of Zimbabwe, the ruling party, and their supporters or entities.
  • Electoral Conditions: That Zimbabwe has held a presidential election that is widely accepted as free and fair and the president-elect is free to assume the duties of the office

  • that the Government of Zimbabwe has sufficiently improved the pre-election environment to a degree consistent with accepted international standards for security and freedom of movement and association.
  • Transparent Land Reform: The Government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated a commitment to an equitable, legal, and transparent land reform program consistent with agreements reached at the International Donors’ Conference on Land Reform and Resettlement in Zimbabwe held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in September 1998.
  • Fulfilling the agreement to end the war in the DRC: The Government of Zimbabwe is making a good faith effort to fulfill the terms of the Lusaka, Zambia, agreement on ending the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Military and police: The Zimbabwean Armed Forces, the National Police of Zimbabwe, and other state security forces are responsible to and serve the elected civilian government.


Simbi Mubako, and Cynthia McKinney (D-Georgia) accused supporters of the bill of anti-black racism.McKinney referred to the bill as "nothing more than a formal declaration of United States complicity in a program to maintain white-skin privilege [...] under the hypocritical guise of providing a transition to democracy.[5]



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