via Zim appeals to AfDB for help – DailyNews Live by Malcom Sharara FIN24 21 SEPTEMBER 2013
Lean on me, When you are not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on, Please swallow your pride, If I have things, You need to borrow, For no one can fill those of your needs, That you won’t let show….
I am sure when Michael Bolton wrote these lyrics for his song “Lean on Me”, Zimbabwe was not on his mind. The above words however, aptly capture the assistance Zimbabwe is seeking from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
At a press conference on Friday, newly-appointed Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa showed that his Zanu PF government does not have any immediate solution to the economic ills the country is currently facing.
Chinamasa told a press briefing yesterday that Zimbabwe “intend(s) to work with AfDB on most of the critical sectors of the economy”.
According to a report by Financial Express, the AfDB has also been tasked to come up with bankable projects to establish irrigation schemes and provide technical expertise on the securitisation of assets, so that government can unlock value of the resources which would enable capital raising.
“The bank will have to look into what extent we can use domestic resources to unlock value,” said Chinamasa.
Yes, there is nothing wrong with a nation seeking help from a regional institution of repute like the AfDB. It is however, a major let-down for a party that was advocating home-grown solutions for the country’s economic problems.
It is also an embarrassment that the minister only a few months ago castigated former minister Tendai Biti for lying when he said that there was no money to fund the country’s projects.
Biti was always lambasted for denying the agricultural sector enough funding — yet the new government also has no clue as to where it will find funding for the coming agricultural season.
Chinamasa said treasury is still in discussions over this year’s agriculture season, although he admitted that time was not on the government’s side.
“However, we are not sure where the resources will be secured from and how much is required in total, but what we know is that they will be found as we cannot over-emphasise the economic returns of a rich harvest.”
From his answers at Friday’s press briefing, Chinamasa showed that his role is more that of a liaison officer with the AfDB. Fair enough, but to leave almost the entire turnaround of the country’s economy in the hands of the AfDB is akin to surrendering the country’s sovereignty.
Where is the confidence in our people that we have to turn to the AfDB for almost everything?
More baffling is that the AfDB’s chief economist and vice-president Ntuli Ncube is a Zimbabwean.
Why didn’t we just give him the financial ministry?
The country has more capable people running institutions of repute like Nkosana Moyo on the Old Mutual board, Sifiso Dabengwa at the helm of MTN, Ben Magara at Lonmin, or Strive Masiyiwa, founder and chairperson of global telecommunications group Econet Wireless.
It might be early days yet, but from where I stand Chinamasa has done nothing to inspire confidence in the country’s future prospects.