How can Zimbabwe Successfully Reintegrate into the International Community?

This report seeks to provide a better understanding of the dynamics and impediments to improving Zimbabwean relations with other states, including those in the West. It makes recommendations for ways in which the country could overcome the current political and economic impasse to re-engage more successfully against the backdrop of the Zimbabwean government’s efforts to build strategic alliances that will support its economic recovery. The report unpacks Zimbabwe’s political and economic landscape and the government’s international engagement strategy, as well as assessing the potential to explore joint efforts (with the region, and traditional and non-traditional partners) that could support a meaningful political and economic reform agenda in Zimbabwe. The report briefly examines the November 2017 coup and the aftermath of the July 2018 elections, and reflects on the current situation in Zimbabwe. It explores both the political and economic spheres, given that they are so closely intertwined. It looks at efforts to promote national dialogue, as well as progress and setbacks in Zimbabwe’s engagement with other countries. Internally, the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) is riven by factions and the heavy presence of the military. The long-time leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) succumbed to cancer on 14 February 2018 and the opposition is still splintered, despite attempts to unify, leaving it in disarray. ZANU PF and the MDC do not appear to be ready to talk to each other, and Western donors are refusing to budge on sanctions until there are genuine, irreversible political and economic reforms. This paper attempts to understand these dynamics, and propose a viable way forward.