Written Question: Compensation for Zimbabwe’s ‘white farmers’

(Source: European Parliament)

Date submitted: 8 April 2021

Question for written answer E-001896/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Dominique Bilde (ID)

Subject: Compensation for Zimbabwe’s ‘white farmers’

In the 2000s, Robert Mugabwe, President of Zimbabwe, launched an agricultural reform adversely affecting ‘white farmers’, whose numbers have fallen from 4 500 to 200 today(1).

In 2020 the Zimbabwe government set out a USD 3.5-million plan and gave those farmers who were protected by bilateral investment protection and promotion agreements (around 37 individuals) the chance to reclaim their land(2)(3)(4).

However, the financing of USD 3.5 million on the markets would be incompatible with the country’s economic situation. The ‘compensation’ would cover only buildings and improvements, and there are concerns about which currency would be used.

According to The South African, the United States had offered to ease sanctions if President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed issues connected with the agricultural reform programme published in 2000(5). The European Union pledged EUR 287 through the 11th European Development Fund, targeting in particular Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.

Will the Commission call for a transparent and fair compensation scheme?

(1) ‘The number of white farmers has dropped to about 200 from 4,500 when land reforms began 20 years ago’, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2020/9/1/zimbabwe-foreign-white-farmers-can-apply-to-get-seized-land-back
(2) ‘They have not been offered land, but the government last month promised them $3.5bn (£2.6bn) for seized infrastructure.’, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-53988788
(3) ‘[…] around 37 of them, who were protected by Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (Bippa)’, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-54011620
(4) ‘[…] a mere 37 farms covered by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAS) would be offered back to farmers who were dispossessed’, The Herald, Government debunks land reform reversal.
(5) https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/zimbabwe/us-sanctions-zimbabwe-land-return-white-farmers/

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