Embargoes and sanctions on Zimbabwe

Embargoes on Zimbabwe and how to apply for an export licence.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal

The regulations in this guidance would be affected.

Find out about the new regulations that would come into effect under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the Sanctions Act).


This guide contains information about embargoes and sanctions on Zimbabwe, and provides information for exporters. You can find more general information here on sanctions, embargoes and restrictions, and a list of all the countries where there are current restrictions.

There is an arms embargo in force in Zimbabwe, imposed by the United Nations (UN) and implemented in UK law.

You must obtain an export licence to export any controlled goods from the UK to Zimbabwe. These are issued by the Export Control Organisation (ECO).

Controlled strategic goods include military goods, products used for torture and repression, radioactive sources and dual-use goods.

This guide will explain the extent of the arms embargo, how it is currently in operation, and the UK and international laws that are enforcing it. You can also find out how to apply for an export licence to Zimbabwe.

If you are considering exporting to Zimbabwe, you should be aware that in addition to the arms embargo, financial asset restrictions and a travel ban are also in place.

Export control updates

If you intend to export to Zimbabwe, you should keep yourself well informed of the current situation through the media and other information channels.

To keep informed of latest updates about arms embargoes and changes to strategic export control legislation, please subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters.

Extent of the arms embargo on Zimbabwe

An arms embargo is a ban on the export of ‘arms and related material’ (ie military ammunition, weapons and goods). This can be put in place by either the UN, the EU, the Organisation on Security and Co-operation in Europe or at a UK national level.

The UK interprets an arms embargo as covering all goods and items on the UK Military List (which forms part of the UK Strategic Export Control Lists), unless stated otherwise.

Additionally, some goods which are not on the UK Military List might also need an export licence. For more information, see the guide on Military End-Use Control.

Zimbabwe is also subject to Trade Controls under Schedule 4 Part 2 of the Export Control Order 2008. This means that the destination is both embargoed and subject to transit control for military goods. For more information, see the guides on transport controls and trafficking and brokering (trade controls).

Applying for an export licence to Zimbabwe

You can apply for an export licence for your goods. All applications will be considered by the Government on a case-by-case basis in line with the provisions of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Read the guide on assessment of export licence applications: criteria and policy.

For details on different export licences available see the guide on licences: export, trade control and transhipment.

When applying for a licence, you should be aware of the current licence processing times by destination. You can view details of licensing statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website.

In applying and using any licence, exporters should be aware of their responsibilities. For more guidance, see the guide on compliance and enforcement of export controls.

If you are unsure if your goods are controlled, you should read the guide about strategic exports: when to request an export licence.

Zimbabwe arms embargo key legislation

There is a wide range of EU and UK legislation regarding the arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

UN Security Council Resolutions

There are currently no UN Security Council Resolutions on Zimbabwe.

EU legislation

The main EU legislation regarding Zimbabwe is Council Regulation (EC) No 310/2002. It has been in force since 18 February 2002.

The Regulation provides for an arms embargo and ban on export of equipment for internal repression, as well as a number of other sanctions. In February 2004, the embargo was renewed by Common Position 2004/161/CFSP and modified by Council Regulation (EC) No 314/2004. This regulation introduced prohibitions on the granting, selling, supply or transfer of technical assistance related to military equipment.

The EU sanctions were most recently extended in February 2012 for a further year.

You can find the latest updates to EU legislation on the European Commission website.

UK legislation

The relevant UK laws that apply to the arms embargo on Zimbabwe are the:

For more information, see the guide on the Export Control Order 2008.

Other restrictions on Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is also subject to financial, travel and other sanctions.

Financial sanctions

There are a number of notifications issued in respect of the financial measures taken against Zimbabwe. They are frequently updated and supplement the main legislation provided by the EU and UK government.

You can view the latest notifications and a current list of asset freeze targets for Zimbabwe.

Other sanctions

The government will not grant export licences for dual-use equipment where there is a clear risk that the equipment would be for the suppression of:

  • human rights
  • freedom of expression
  • good governance

These sanctions are not lifted until progress has been made on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Further information

ECJU helpline

020 7215 4594, email

Subscribe to the Export Control Organisation’s Notices to Exporters

ECO performance reports and statistics on the ECO Reports and Statistics website

UK legislation search on the website

Security Council resolutions on the UN website

Published 13 August 2012
Last updated 4 June 2013 + show all updates
  1. Included links to financial sanctions content on GOV.UK
  2. First published.