U.S told to drop ‘antiquated’ sanctions against Mnangagwa to access lithium

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By Alois Vinga

UNITED States (US) entrepreneur Glenn Jakins says there is an urgent need to give President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration a chance and lift sanctions, paving way for access to the Zimbabwe’s Lithium resource.

Zimbabwe has Africa’s largest lithium resource and ranks fifth globally amid indications that the “white gold”  could be the country’s sanctions busting card.

However, trade between Zimbabwe and the US remains limited due to economic sanctions which authorities in Harare continue to blame for unjustifiably slowing down economic progress.

Presenting views through  The Geopolitics publication recently, the renewable energy expert questioned the rationale behind keeping the sanctions in force even when they have failed to deliver the intended purpose.

Jakins said the former late President Robert Mugabe who triggered the sour relations between the two regions was forced out of office in 2017, and has since passed away.

“The European Union was invited to send an Election Observation Mission to observe the 2018 elections.

“In 2020, the Zimbabwean government announced a program to compensate the farmers who were ousted from their land back in 2001.

“The new government is not perfect, and many more changes are needed for true democracy and a stable economic position of Zimbabwe. That said, progress is being achieved. The new government has started to do what 20 years of sanctions could not,” he said.

He added that there is also a need for the US and its Western allies to appreciate that the Southern African nation is no longer agriculture dependent as was the case in the last 20 years, underscoring that the country has now uncovered a far more lucrative export of lithium.

Jakins further warned against maintaining the hard-line stance against Mnangagwa arguing that such a situation will only leave a vacuum which competitors like China, Russia and other Eastern Europe nations will exploit.

“So those in the West have to ask themselves, what is the most important goal? To hold on to antiquated sanctions that have done little to advance the cause of human rights, or keep up with the global economy while building bridges with Zimbabwe?”

He underscored that the future is coming fast and if the US  is serious about being a leader in the transition to renewable energy it is an undisputed fact that they need access to more lithium which compels them to strengthen ties  with Zimbabwe  for their  companies to invest in mining and refineries.

“Sanctions have failed. Instead of stalling the economy of Zimbabwe by refusing to do business, it is time to try investing in both the people and the resources found there.

“A strong economic partnership with Zimbabwe could hold the key to both influencing the government on human rights issues and addressing the raw material demands of a new, greener global economy,” he added.