Zim 'richest in sub-Saharan Africa'

2013-05-17 14:14

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Cape Town - Zimbabwe is probably the richest and most heavily resourced country of all within sub-Saharan Africa, British Member of Parliament James Duddridge has said.

Writing on the Conservative party’s website blog, Duddridge said it was unfortunate that the country's resources were not being used for the benefit of the poor but for the rich elite.

"The irony however, is that probably the richest and most heavily resourced country of all within the region has benefited so few of its people and savaged so many," he wrote.

Duddridge's sentiments come at a time when Zimbabwe is gearing up for elections that are expected later this year.

Resources such as diamonds are seen as key to turning around Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

Reports have, however, indicated that mining officials loyal to authoritarian President Robert Mugabe are stashing profits from the country’s diamond fields, and fears are that the money could be used for political violence ahead of elections.

Global Witness, a group monitoring blood diamonds, said recently that its investigations showed unspecified amounts of diamond earnings were being hidden in the tax-free havens of Mauritius, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

"If the next election is accompanied by violence there is a real risk that any bloodshed will be funded by diamond revenue," said Nick Donovan, a senior researcher for Global Witness.

Mugabe's party Zanu-PF has, however, denied hoarding diamond earnings.

Read more on:    global witness  |  zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  blood diamonds

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