Full Report: Removal of Zimbabwe Sanctions by the US Government

On March 4, 2024, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued an Executive Order, titled “Executive Order on the Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Situation in Zimbabwe,” marking a significant shift in US policy towards Zimbabwe. The order, made under the authority vested in the President by various statutes including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the National Emergencies Act, terminates the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 of March 6, 2003.

The initial declaration of a national emergency in 2003 was in response to concerns regarding actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons, which were deemed to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions. This declaration led to subsequent measures and expansions under Executive Orders 13391 (November 22, 2005) and 13469 (July 25, 2008).

President Biden’s decision to terminate the national emergency, as stated in the Executive Order, reflects a reassessment of the situation in Zimbabwe. While acknowledging ongoing concerns such as acts of violence, human rights abuses against political opponents, and public corruption, the President deems the continuation of the national emergency declaration unnecessary.

The Executive Order revokes Executive Orders 13288, 13391, and 13469, signaling a departure from previous US policy towards Zimbabwe. Importantly, Section 1 of the order clarifies that termination of the national emergency shall not affect ongoing actions, proceedings, rights, or duties that were in place prior to the issuance of the order.

Furthermore, Section 2 of the order emphasizes that the termination does not impair the authority of executive departments or agencies, nor does it affect the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The order is to be implemented in accordance with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

President Biden’s Executive Order is seen as a significant development in US-Zimbabwe relations and may pave the way for potential changes in diplomatic engagement, economic cooperation, and international sanctions regimes concerning Zimbabwe.