UK Breaks Lending Drought for Zimbabwe with $100 Million Loan

The UK is teaming up with Standard Chartered Bank to lend $100m to Zimbabwean companies in what will be the British government’s first direct commercial loan to the southern African nation’s private sector in more than 20 years, the Financial Times reported. The loan is the biggest sign of a thaw in the UK-Zimbabwe relationship since London imposed sanctions on Robert Mugabe’s regime in the early 2000s. The rapprochement follows Mr Mugabe’s forced resignation in November in a “soft coup” that ended his 37-year rule. The CDC, Britain’s development finance institution, will share the default risk on loans to provide foreign exchange to dollar-starved Zimbabwean businesses that are struggling to operate. Nick O’Donohoe, the CDC’s chief executive, said his organisation had been preparing the loan facility since the day Mr Mugabe was replaced by his former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Read more. (Subscription required.)