The government of Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to bring about political and economic changes needed to improve the country’s reputation, the State Department said on Thursday.
The comments relate to President Donald Trump’s decision this week to extend by one year U.S. sanctions that target more than 100 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, including Mnangagwa.
“We believe that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has yet to implement the political and economic overhaul required to improve the country’s reputation with the community of nations, and with the United States,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.
“The actions of the targeted individuals continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes,” he said, adding that there were ongoing concerns in the United States over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa has called for U.S. sanctions to be lifted against the ZANU-PF ruling party, top military figures and some government-owned firms. The sanctions were imposed during long-time rule of former president Robert Mugabe.
Washington has called on Mnangagwa to change Zimbabwe’s laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests.
Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate rose 1.38 percent to 4.29 percent in July 2018, latest figures from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZImStats) show.
This was a significant upturn from the June 2018 figure of 2.91 percent.
On a monthly basis, the inflation rose 1.03 percentage points to 0.98 percent.
“The month-on-month inflation rate in July 2018 was 0,98 percent gaining 1,03 percentage points on the June 2018 rate of -0,05 percent,” said ZimStats in its monthly update.
Some observers have attributed the quickening inflation to the continuance of the parallel currency market.
Although the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has maintained the US dollar-bond note official rate at 1:1, cash shortages have resulted in a thriving black market for physical currency, both bond notes and United States dollar notes.
It is largely expected that the high demand for US dollars by both companies and individuals continues to push up the exchange rate.