Ramaphosa backs lifting of Zimbabwe sanctions

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his country favours the lifting or easing of international sanctions on neighbouring Zimbabwe.

Ramaphosa spoke on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying Zimbabwe faces “serious, serious, economic challenges and they can be assisted by the world if those sanctions are lifted.”

The backing from the south African government comes even after turned down a request from Zimbabwe for a $1.2 billion loan in December.

The United States has sanctions on Zimbabwean officials including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and says certain human rights reforms are needed to lift them.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Zimbabwe Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said that “we don’t need to be told by anyone that we need to do better on human rights or open up democratic space … we need to do it for ourselves.”

Despite the unrest that doctors say has killed at least 12 people, Ncube called the protests a sign that Zimbabwe was democratising after Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

Ncube also said he hopes to gain access to some $500 million in lines of credit at Davos, adding that “one can never say” how close he was to securing it.