History was made in Zimbabwe this week as Robert Mugabe finally agreed to resign the presidency after almost four decades in power. How the country will be governed by new leadership is still very much unknown—yet it is not too early for the international community to start considering how it can offer help to rebuild Zimbabwe’s economy for the benefit of its people.
“The question is, is this going to be just a junta with some kind of fig leaf,” asks Todd Moss, CGD senior fellow and longtime Zimbabwe watcher, in this edition of the CGD Podcast, “or is this a genuine transitional authority that is going to lead to something better, which the international community can get behind?”
In the end, Mugabe’s own party and his military turned on him and forced him from office, where decades of economic decline, political opposition and international condemnation could not. Zimbabwe is left in a parlous state—indebted and unstable. Yet Moss, who lived and worked in Zimbabwe for some time and also served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President George Bush, says there are specific things that donor governments, including the US, and international institutions, should be considering.
In the short term they include initial assistance in setting up free and fair elections, due next year, as well as reviewing Zimbabwe’s debt arrears and the sanctions against some regime members. In the long run, Moss says, Zimbabwe could benefit from the kind of truth and reconciliation process its neighbor South Africa undertook after apartheid. Moss outlines his ideas in a new blogpost entitled Seven Ways the International Community Can Help Zimbabwe through Tough Times.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.