“Following today’s removal of Agribank and IDBZ from the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, a licence is no longer required to engage in transactions with those entities,” read an announcement from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (ofac) which falls under the US Department of Treasury.
The US also removed from the sanctions list late ministers and ruling Zanu-PF party members Amos Bernard Muvenga Midzi and Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu as well as Stanley Sakupwanya, who was at one time Zanu-PF’s Deputy Secretary for Disabled and Disadvantaged.
Cde Ndlovu’s wife, Rose Jaele, was also removed from the list as was a private company, Ndlovu Motorways.
Following the review, 98 individuals and 66 entities related to Zimbabwe remain on the US hit list. The United States embassy in Harare confirmed the development and admitted that shackling the two institutions, like many other key bodies and individuals, was detrimental to Zimbabwe.
“These banks provide services to undeserved, disadvantaged populations in Zimbabwe and serve unique development functions and important economic roles in agricultural and infrastructure finance. Their removal is consistent with the US effort to support inclusive economic development and assist the people of Zimbabwe,” said Ms Nicole Finnemann, deputy public affairs officer in response to inquiries from The Herald.
Zimbabwe has always argued that the sanctions that the West imposed on the country are hurting the ordinary people and have cost an estimated $40 billion.
Finnemann said the US would continue reviewing the sanctions regime. “We continue to review our sanctions policies as we monitor the Government of Zimbabwe’s progress in implementing additional political and economic reforms, and would welcome the opportunity to ease sanctions if the government of Zimbabwe demonstrates concrete, positive progress toward the reforms it committed to in its 2013 constitution,” she said.
“Those reforms include establishing, funding, and empowering credible, independent, constitutionally-mandated commissions focused on elections, gender equality, national peace and reconciliation, and media freedom.”
Harare has long insisted that the sanctions, which were imposed outside the United Nations, should be scrapped in toto and immediately.
Last week the Office of Foreign Assets Control, issued a notice titled “Update to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons; Removal of Zimbabwe General License 1”, which announced the removal of Agribank and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe.