Mukudzei Chingwere–Herald Reporter
THE Government is committed to clear its arrears with the African Development Bank (AfDB), as part of the Second Republic’s reform agenda anchored on a return to the international community through mending broken relations and entrenching already existing ties.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava made the commitment when he welcomed Ms Moono Mutopola, the newly appointed AfDB country manager to Zimbabwe.
Minister Shava yesterday also had an engagement with incoming United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to Zimbabwe Dr Tajudeen Oyewale.
Mr Georges van Montfort, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative will end his tenure this month, and he bade farewell to Minister Shava yesterday.
“Government is aware of Zimbabwe’s outstanding financial obligations of US$729 million to the AfDB,” said Minister Shava during his engagement with AfDB.
“We are committed to clearing these arrears as part of Government’s re-engagement agenda with the international community and development partners.
“This commitment has been demonstrated by the resumption of quarterly payments of US$1 million to the AfDB since the beginning of March 2021. To date, Government has paid US$3 million.”
“The Government of Zimbabwe appreciates the work that the AfDB has been undertaking in the country over the years in agriculture, energy, finance, governance and institutional support, transport, water supply and sanitation.
“I appreciate that all these projects have been undertaken in line with Zimbabwe’s priorities and have been instrumental in the implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Minister Shava.
Minister Shava also thanked UNICEF for its effort in the development of the country’s education saying he looked forward to the continuation of the cordial relationship.
“I look forward to working closely with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under your leadership as we seek to promote and fulfil children’s rights in Zimbabwe.
“I am confident that through your leadership, the relations between Zimbabwe and UNICEF will continue to grow.
‘Zimbabwe is committed to deepening this collaboration and joint efforts in child protection and education,” said Minister Shava. Indeed, UNICEF has played a tremendous role in the education system by providing solar radios and offering initiatives that have assisted Government in ensuring access to education during this Covid 19 period.
“Zimbabwe is honoured to be the first recipient of this life-changing technology that will facilitate access to disadvantaged children,” said Minister Shava.
He also thanked the UNDP for the support it has rendered to the country. Mr van Montfort said it was difficult to leave Zimbabwe at a time the country had been placed on developmental trajectory, with an expected bumber harvest among other things.
He he said he would have loved to be part of it but as a diplomat, he had run his race.
“Its difficult to leave Zimbabwe, such a rewarding place to be both on a personal and professional level. I think we have achieved a lot in the past four years and we have been reflecting with the honourable Minister.”
AfDB representative Ms Mutopola said the board of directors have approved a 3 year strategic plan for Zimbabwe focusing on key sectors including mining, agricultural and Small and medium enterprises development. Dr Oyewale said he was happy to be deployed to Zimbabwe and revealed that they discussed how they could tackle issues affecting children in the country.