US repeals ZDERA

United States lawmakers have begun repealing the outdated Zimbabwe Democracy Economic Recovery Act, passed in the House of Representatives in 2001, in a bid to update current US policy.

US Senator James Inhofe introduced the bill in the US congress last week that is meant to repeal the ZDERA, which has been dubbed the Sanctions Repeal Act of 2011.

After the repeal of ZDERA, the Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act is expected to come into force. Senator Inhofe is steering the amendments through Congress.

The Bill has reportedly received overwhelming support from members of the US Congress, and was prompted by the need to support Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his efforts to reverse a decade of economic meltdown.

Amending current policy would also undercut President Robert Mugabe's propaganda that ZDERA had hurt the economy. The repeal of ZDERA is aimed at helping Zimbabwe access lines of credits and promoting trade with the US.

The Bill says that since the appointment of Biti as Minister of Finance, the economy of Zimbabwe has seen remarkable recovery in a short period of time. During Biti's tenure, the real gross domestic product of Zimbabwe has improved. In 2008, the real GDP in Zimbabwe was contracting at a rate of negative 14.4 percent. Current projections estimate that the real GDP in Zimbabwe will increase by 9.3 percent during 2011.

It is believed the amendments will help the US to actively engage with the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank and other institutions to develop plans for supporting Zimbabwe's longer-term recovery when there is a genuine transition.

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