Zimbabwe's ruling party Zanu-PF has said it is looking forward to a new chapter in United States-Zimbabwe relations following a night of high political drama in the US during which Republican candidate Donald Trump made a surprise win in the country's presidential elections.

The US and Zimbabwe have had strained relations for some time.

Western governments started imposing sanctions on Harare in 2001 over allegations of vote-rigging and human rights abuses.

The US started imposing targeted sanctions on 98 Zimbabwean individuals and 68 entities – mostly farms and legal entities owned by the 98 individuals – in 2003. Sanctions included asset seizures and travel bans.

The US Embassy in Harare said the sanctions were implemented "as a result of the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe".

While Trump's accession to the top seat may not mean an immediate shift in the two countries' relations, it could however signal an improvement in US relations with Zimbabwe. While Hillary Clinton previously compared Trump's economic policies to those of Zimbabwe in the 1990s, which resulted in hyperinflation and a humanitarian and economic crisis, Mugabe officially endorsed Trump in July.

"We look forward to a new chapter in US Zimbabwe relations," Zanu-PF wrote on Twitter.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe in 2014 claimed US President Barack Obama and other "imperialists" imposed sanctions on him because they were afraid of him, after the African leader was left out of a US-Africa summit held in Washington.

"The irrational behaviour of the US to renew sanctions and label as a foreign policy threat is a classic case of errant behaviour by a giant," Zimbabwe War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa was quoted as saying at the time.

In March 2015, the US extended sanctions targeted at "certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons" whose actions and policies "undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes and institutions."

Faced with widespread demonstrations and strikes this summer, the cash-strapped Zanu-PF blamed foreign governments for the nation's economic woes, and for "help[ing] engineer the civil disturbances", which Mugabe accused Washington of funding. The US Embassy denied the allegations.

In a surprise move last month, however, the US removed Zimbabwean individuals and companies from the sanctions list that were barred from doing business with US companies, but Mugabe and First Lady Grace remained on the sanctions list.