Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, today made a passionate appeal to the African Development Bank (ADB) to mediate in Zimbabwe’s efforts to re-engage with multilateral finance institutions as well as clearing the country’s external debts.
Chinamasa, in his brief to journalists after meeting a team of ADB Directors who are in the country to familiarize themselves with the Zimbabwean situation, said efforts at economic recovery had been hampered by the failure by Zimbabwe to access credit from international finance institutions due to outstanding debts.
“I have emphasised to the ADB that they should play a leading role in securing clearance of our arrears accumulated with multi-lateral creditors such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Because of their rules and regulations, we cannot access concessionary borrowing unless we clear our arrears. “We have appealed to the ADB to come up with mechanisms that would help us clear our arrears,” said Chinamasa.
Zimbabwe has an external debt of around $7 billion while it owes the ADB $566 million Chinamasa said that re-engagement with international finance institutions was critical for the Zimbabwean economy.
“We need to work very closely with multilateral and bilateral creditors. We need to re-engage with them so that we can get a breathing space. We have to accept the challenges that we are facing for us to be able to move forward,” said Chinamasa.
The ADB team is expected to tour farms that were re-distributed under Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme launched in 2002 as well as the city of Mutare where they will commission a reservoir built with their assistance.
The team is expected to pay a courtesy call on President Robert Mugabe on Friday.
In his remarks, the ADB team spokesperson, Alieu Momodou, said they would be providing assistance to the private sector to aid Zimbabwe’s economic recovery efforts.
This, he said, was notwithstanding the fact that the Zimbabwean government had not yet cleared its arrears with the ADB. Momodou confirmed they had discussed with Chinamasa on how Zimbabwe can re-engage with international finance institutions.
“We discussed with the Minister that being in arrears does not mean that we cannot give assistance to the private sector. Our assistance to the country is not only to the public sector or the government. We are also discussing with the government on how we can intensify their re-engagement with the international finance institutions,” said Momodou.