US relaxes sanctions on Agribank, IDBZ

THE United States (US) has removed Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank) and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) as well as five individuals from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) sanctions list but will not remove the remaining 98 individuals and 66 entities from the list without concrete progress towards democracy and human rights reforms Zimbabwe committed to, officials say.

Hazel Ndebele

Among the five individuals removed, three are deceased; former minister of Mines and Mining Development Amos Midzi, former deputy secretary for Disabled and Disadvantaged Stanley Sakupwanya and former deputy minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.

Rose Ndlovu and Nalinee Taveesin were also removed from the list.

Officials on the sanctions list include President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace as well as top government and military officials.

Companies targeted include Zimbabwe Defence Industries, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and Sino Zim Development Pvt Ltd among others.
US Embassy Deputy Public Affairs officer Nicole Finnemann told Zimbabwe Independent the US would continue reviewing sanctions policies in line with Zimbabwe’s progress in implementing political and economic reforms.

“We 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,” said Finnemann.

“Those reforms include establishing, funding, and empowering credible, independent, constitutionally-mandated commissions focused on elections, gender equality, national peace and reconciliation, and media freedom.”

The US slapped the targeted sanctions on Mugabe’s regime in 2003 “as a result of the actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe”.

Agribank, IDBZ and blocked persons had since 2008 been prohibited to engage in financial transactions with the US.

The removal of sanctions will now allow the removed entities and individuals to do any business or transactions with the US without the license requirement.

Justifying the removal of measures against the financial institutions, Finnemann said;

“The two banks provide services to underserved, disadvantaged populations in Zimbabwe and serve unique development functions and important economic roles in agricultural and infrastructure finance.”

Top