Canada established diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe upon its independence in 1980. Canada has an embassy in Harare, and Zimbabwe has an embassy located in Ottawa.
Since the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in September 2008, President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has shared power with Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change-T (MDC-T) and the Movement for Democratic Change-M (MDC-M). Since then, Zimbabwe has seen gradual improvement to the political and economic environment. This has included decreased political violence, economic recovery, a decrease in the number of food assistance beneficiaries, and signs of widening space for civil society.
Canada supports the GPA, including the inclusive government it created and the reform requirements it established. Canada maintains political and diplomatic pressure to promote democratic development, good governance, rule of law and freedom.
In 2008, under the Special Economic Measures Act (Zimbabwe) Regulations, Canada imposed legal measures which froze the assets of President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF Party elite responsible for electoral violence. The Regulations also banned the export or transport of arms and related material to Zimbabwe, and prohibited the provision of technical or financial assistance relating to arms. Canada will review these targeted measures once there are genuine and lasting policy shifts towards democratic and accountable governance, as well as respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Canada continues to provide humanitarian assistance to try to meet the needs of affected populations and has a modest bilateral aid program working with civil society and multilateral organizations. Canada provides no funding directly to the Government of Zimbabwe, and has not since 2002. However, despite the suspension of funding to the Government of Zimbabwe, CIDA has maintained its development assistance program in Zimbabwe which works with local and Canadian civil society organizations in the areas of HIV/AIDS, poverty alleviation, governance, and gender equality. CIDA also continues to provide humanitarian assistance to try and meet the needs of affected populations.
Bilateral trade between Canada and Zimbabwe increased by 59.4% from $10.1million in 2010 to $16.1million 2011. Canadian investment in Zimbabwe is predominantly in the mining sector.