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U.S Treasury Removes Agribank, IDBZ from Targeted Sanctions List

  • Blessing  Zulu

FILE: Jack Lew, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, attends the session 'Global Financial Priorities for 2016' at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2016.

The United States government has lifted sanctions imposed on two Zimbabwean banks which were on the list of business entities barred from doing business with Washington.

In a statement, the U.S Treasury said, “Following today’s removal of Agribank and IDBZ from the list of specially designated nationals and blocked persons, a license is no longer required to engage in transactions with those entities.”

US Treasury said following the removal of Agribank and IDBZ from the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, “a license is no longer required to engage in transactions with those entities.”

Agribank and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe were among more than 200 entities and individuals barred from doing business with American companies or holding assets in the world’s largest economy as part of sanctions imposed against President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle in 2003 for alleged human rights abuses.

But Harare says the sanctions were imposed when it sought to address the land question by redistributing it to the majority blacks.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told Studio 7 that the easing of sanctions is a non-event.

Responding, Washington-based human rights activist Jeff Smith said the sanctions are justified as Zanu-PF does not respect human rights.

Meanwhile, the World Bank says it will continue to offer Zimbabwe technical support only until the country clears its arrears to international creditors totaling $1.86 billion.

Harare started defaulting on its debt to the IMF, World Bank, African Development Bank and several Western lenders in 1999 and is struggling to emerge from a catastrophic recession that ran for a decade until 2008.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, working with the creditors last year, tabled a plan that he claimed will see Zimbabwe clearing its arrears by April.

Economists though see this as a mission impossible. World Bank Zimbabwe senior economist Johannes Hederschee told VOA Studio 7 that the bank is working with Harare to help the country’s economy to recover.