“Nineteen months after ZASM launched its case against US sanctions in the Gauteng high court, significant developments have occurred. Over this period, the US Secretary of State has issued licenses and permissions as follows:

1. ABSA and Standard Bank of South Africa were granted licenses/permissions to provide the Zimbabwean government with a $192 million loan for hospital and clinic construction. Furthermore, US banks were authorized to clear these US dollar transfers to Zimbabwe, through the US banking system.

2. Then, just yesterday, the EU received a license to allocate another $120 million to the Zimbabwean government, specifically for the rehabilitation of Kariba Dam electricity generation. Similar licenses/permissions were given to US banks to enable them to clear the US dollar loans for the Zimbabwean government through the US banking system.

3. This positive turn of events is complemented by Zimbabwe re-establishing over nine US dollar and Euro corresponding banking relationships with South African and European banks during the same period of nineteen months. In essence, the US Secretary of State also approved the licenses for these institutions to reinstate US dollar relationships with Zimbabwe. In return, OFAC did not penalize them, and US banks were authorized to clear US dollar transactions from Zimbabwe through the US banking system, after years of penalizing various financial institutions for transacting with the Zimbabwean government and its financial system.

These actions represent a significant departure from the restrictions imposed by the #ZDERA, #IEEPA and #EO13469 sanctions. These sanctions previously prevented banks worldwide from granting loans, clearing payments, offering technology, software or giving any form of material assistance to the Zimbabwean government, its affiliated companies or those engaged in business with them, without obtaining a license from the US Secretary of State.

It appears that mounting pressure from our anti-sanctions campaign, both through the UN Human Rights Council and the legal proceedings in South African courts, has pushed the US government to begin easing its sanctions, with a focus on civilian human rights and healthcare.

These developments align with an impact assessment on human rights and health conducted by the US Congress sub-committee for human rights and health. This assessment was initiated following discussions between the ZASM chairman and a congressional advisor on May 25, 2021.”

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