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Zimbabwe given back IMF voting rights after seven years

19 February 10 21:40 GMT

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to restore Zimbabwe's voting rights after a seven-year suspension for unpaid debts.

But the fund said the country was still ineligible for loans until it had paid off more of the $1.3bn (£841m) it owes to creditors.

In the meantime, Zimbabwe can take part in IMF decision-making.

The move recognises the country's efforts to repair its economy and improve relations with donors.

There are signs that the country's economy is improving a year after former foes President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai united in a coalition government.

The IMF said it had taken the decision to restore Zimabawe's voting rights after a request from the county's Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

The fund suspended Zimbabwe's voting rights in 2003 over disagreements with the previous government of Mr Mugabe.

The move comes just days after the European Union renewed sanctions against the country for another 12 months, citing lack of progress by the new unity government.

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