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US Says Companies May Review Stance on Zimbabwe After Sanctions Shift

(Bloomberg) -- US businesses may re-examine their stance on Zimbabwe following the adoption of a new sanctions program which places only three entities and the nation’s top leaders including Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa under restrictions.

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“Its an opportunity for businesses to reexamine their de-risking models and look at the Zimbabwe market,” David Gainer, assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs, said in an online briefing on Thursday. US policy on Zimbabwe has not changed and there has only been a “change in the sanctions tools” it uses, Gainer added.

Mnangagwa was placed on the so-called Global Magnitsky Program, joining a long list of other prominent figures including Angola’s former richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, and South Africa’s three Gupta brothers. The program allows the US to target foreign officials implicated in alleged corruption or human rights abuses.

Read More: US Sanctions Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa Over Human Rights

The Zimbabwe government late Wednesday condemned the latest sanctions program for targeting the nation’s leaders, describing it as an escalation of hostilities. Speaking for the first time in public Thursday after the announcement by Washington on March 4, Mnangagwa said the southern African nation will not accept anything less than a total removal of sanctions.

“The sanctions are unlawful,” Mnangagwa said. “All sanctions must be removed in total.”

The US, which also announced a pause in its involvement in talks on the restructuring of Zimbabwe’s $18 billion debt due to “a lack of progress” in democratic processes, according to Gainer. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said talks would continue despite the US exit.

Read More: Zimbabwe Talks on $18 Billion Debt On Track Despite US Exit

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