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Zimbabwe Central Banker Demands Foreign Banks Lend to Sanctioned Persons

  • Gibbs Dube

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono said international banks have been refusing loans to Western-sanctioned individuals and companies since the current government of national unity was formed in 2009

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has warned multinational banks with operations in the Southern African country that they would suffer consequences if they refuse to write loans to ZANU-PF officials or others on Western sanctions lists.

In a monetary policy statement posted to the RBZ website, Gono said such banks are unfairly extending what he called illegal Western sanctions.

He said such banks have been refusing loans to sanctioned individuals and companies since the current government of national unity was formed in 2009.

“This aloof attitude has been explicitly exhibited by these banks taking instructions from their international parentages,” said Gono, whose institution laid off three-quarters of its staff or about 1,500 employees late last as part of a strategic overhaul urged by the International Monetary Fund. Many of those laid off were political hires.

The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe declined to comment on Gono's statement.

Gono accused the banks of paralyzing Zimbabwe's money markets by holding domestic deposits rather than recycling them into productive sectors in the form of loans.

But Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch commented that it is impossible for Western banks to lend to ZANU-PF supporters listed for sanctions by their home countries.

“I believe that there should be some dialogue between the banks and RBZ to demonstrate that [the financial institutions] have no option but not to lend to such people until these restrictive measures are lifted,” Bloch told reporter Gibbs Dube.

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