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Rebuilding Foundations Caring for People

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Ben Freeth's 2,000km ride on horseback to draw attention to the post 2000 Zimbabwean land grabs and the illegal closure of the SADC Tribunal, the regional court of last resort, by former President Robert Mugabe, was not his first. And probably not his last either. "Ben's ride is ending, but our journey to restore the tribunal has just begun," said Dr Theo de Jager of SAAI, who, together with AfriForum's legal team has walked a long, supportive path with the Zimbabwean farmers who approached the tribunal. Their current plan appears to be a political strategy, according to which they form alliances right across the region.

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Latest News
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China serves as important tobacco market for Zimbabwe: official

China remains an important destination for Zimbabwean tobacco, accounting for more than 60 percent of the country's leaf exports worldwide. Tobacco is an important economic activity for the smallholder sector. [However, Associated Press reported in June 2023 that although Zimbabwe has reestablished itself as one of the leading growers in the world, the small-scale Black farmers now selling their crop mostly to China are “heavily indebted” and seeing “minimal” benefits, according to an association that represents their interests. Critics say the contract system locks them into unfavorable loans and prices.]

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U.N. Instrument can protect small-scale farmers from eviction

The Zimbabwe Smallholder and Organic Farmers’ Forum (Zimsoff) has urged farmers to use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants (UNDROP), adopted in 2018, to push back against ongoing injustices that include displacement from ancestral land and discrimination. Small-scale farmers across the country are facing displacement to pave way for national projects, with no clear plan on compensation. For example, since 2021, more than 100 families from Manhize’s Mushenjere Village in the Mvuma district have lost their land to Chinese subsidiary Dison Iron and Steel Company (Disco)’s operations.

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Orange eyes at night and the ZiG currency chaos

As darkness falls over the wilderness the noises of the day gradually slip away…. How much we need this distraction of the wild for a brief moment in time as we try and make sense of events in Zimbabwe. At the moment our story here is still all about the ZiG, our new but largely elusive currency because of the very limited number of bank notes that have been released … But it’s not just the lack of bank notes that’scausing a crisis, it’s also the ZiG denominations. For millions of Zimbabweans who rely on public transport, the ZiG has caused a massive crisis. Commuting costs …have effectively doubled in a fortnight.

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Crisis as half of Zim needs food aid

Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka has admitted that close to 8 million people (half the population), will need food aid and has revised the government’s appeal from US$2 billion last month to US$3 billion. This excludes a further 4.5 million who will require school meals.  The government recently admitted that the El Niño-induced drought caught it offguard, despite projections last year of imminent disaster. Government officials spend the first quarter of this year claiming that the country has enough grain, despite revelations by the Grain Marketing Board that available stocks would not go beyond June.

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Worst Drought in Four Decades. 

Maize output in Zimbabwe will drop by 72 percent this year as the country experiences its worst El Niño-triggered drought in four decades, according to the government’s latest crop assessment. It also reports a 77 percent decrease in overall food crop production, compared to last year. "Statistically, the season had the latest and driest start to a summer season in 40 years," the government said in its Second Round of Crops, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment report. Zimbabwe consumes 2.2 million tons of maize annually, with 1.8 million tons used for food and 400 000 tons used for livestock feed.

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Thoughts on my “Long Ride for Justice”.

This is a tale of four horses. Or rather, to be more exact, three horses and one mule. And it's also a tale of a long journey, both across Africa and also through time on a farm in Zimbabwe  ̶  and in the aftermath of being on that farm.

 

The first horse that I rode was called Tsedeq. And the farm from which we rode together was called Mount Carmel Farm and it had been taken over. This farm was where I had built my house, where our children had grown up, and where my parents-in-law, Mike and Angela Campbell, had brought up their children. And suddenly we had the land invasions taking place, and we were no longer able to stay on the farm and all the animals had been killed, and all the crops stolen …. and all the 40,000 fruit trees had died through fire or neglect.

Harnessing Sub-Saharan Africa’s critical mineral wealth

With growing demand, proceeds from critical minerals are poised to rise significantly over the next two decades. Sub-Saharan Africa stands to reap over 10 percent of cumulated revenues from the extraction of just four key minerals—copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium, which could correspond to an increase in the region’s GDP by 12 percent or more by 2050. Given the volatile nature of commodity prices and the unpredictability over the future direction of technological innovation, these estimates have a high degree of uncertainty—but the general direction is certainly encouraging.

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Gold smuggling will sabotage new ZiG currency (please use attached pic)

The launch of the new Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) currency has raised concerns that the current rampant illicit gold trading, as reported by Al Jazeera’s Gold Mafia documentary, will militate against the accumulation of gold reserves. Zimbabwe has been losing an estimated US$100 million in monthly gold leakages. The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has predicted that the expected increase in import bill is likely to render the ZiG worthless. “The ZiG concept will require frequent auditing of physical gold and United States dollar cash reserves backing the currency by reputable and independent audit institutions.”

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Matabeleland concerned over army recruitment

President Mnangagwa has declared that Zimbabwe is at peace, but the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has been recruiting soldiers in various parts of Matabeleland, including at high schools. In Mangwe, for example, the ZNA recruitment was conducted at St Francis High School, while in Matobo it took place at Shashane High School…. The army held similar exercises … in Lupane at Mabhikwa High School … and at Hlabangeza High School in Nkayi district. Political analyst Effie Ncube said government should prioritise education, health, roads, job creation, water and sanitation and food security.

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Zim seeks US$2bn bridge finance for arrears

Zimbabwe is looking for US$2 billion bridge financing to clear its to the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) arrears, Finance minister  Mthuli Ncube has said as Harare seeks  to normalise relations with international financial institutions. The government owes about US$1,5 billion and US$680 million to the World Bank and AfDB, respectively, which are locking the flow of cheap financing from the two institutions. Ncube said Zimbabwe needed two or more sponsors to be able to facilitate the loan. “A sponsor provides a bridging loan literally for 24 hours, and we need about US$2 billion…”

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