Improve CPIA ratings to unlock funds: Zimbabwe told

HARARE – Zimbabwe could get a slice of billion that has been mobilised by the World Bank (WB) to fund projects in countries within the International Development Association (IDA) if it improves its scores under the global funder’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) framework.

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Camille Nuamah

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Zimbabwe says it is aiming to score high in CPIA to mobilise financial resources for debt resolution, aid and investment.

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The CPIA which is determined by four blocks – economic management, structural policies, policies for social inclusion, equity and public sector management and institutions – is a diagnostic to measure the quality of policies and institutions in a country, which in turn enables highly indebted countries to effectively mobilise financial resources.

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The WB used CPIA to increase development effectiveness of aid and investment.

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The CPIA scores of Sub-Saharan African countries in 2013 ranged from 2 to 3,9 on a scaleof up to 16 with Zimbabwe scoring a paltry 2,3 just above war tone South Sudan and Eritrea. During the same year, Malawi scored 3,1 while Zambia scored 3,4 and Mozambique achieved a 3,6 score.

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Finance and Economic development acting secretary Pfungwa Kunaka told stakeholders attending a CPIA workshop in Harare yesterday that Zimbabwe stood to benefit immensely from a higher score.

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“The fact that we have undertaken to better our CPIA score will help in debt resolution. We understand that the WB relies heavily on the CPIA to appropriate resources to development partner through grants and highly concessionary loans.

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“Greater international support from multi lateral institutions will enable Zimbabwe to clear its debt arrears.”

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Zimbabwe has an estimated ,396 billion as at December 2014, which translates to about 60% of gross domestic product (GDP). This debt is made up of an external debt of 225b and a domestic debt of ,171b.

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Of the 225 b external debt, 81% are accumulated arrears. Clearly, with such large external payment arrears, the country is in debt distress.

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Speaking at the same event, WB lead economist Africa region Punam Chuhan-Pole said the global funder has since mobilised bn to fund projects in International Development Association countries that Zimbabwe could tap into by improving scores.

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Kunaka said higher CPIA score was important for the country in light of globalisation.

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“The world is moving ahead and that dictates evolving and our institutions need to move with time and conform to the global best practises.

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“So globalisation makes the CPIA important, failure to adapt to global dictates will render our institutions uncompetitive and unable to benefit from opportunities that globalisation provides,” he added.

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Apart from emphasising the importance of the CPIA higher ratings, the acting treasury secretary said an inclusive CPIA approach would benefit Zimbabwe.

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“We believe that our partners such as WB, African Development Bank (AfDB) will come to fully recognise and appreciate our policy and institutional reforms through the inclusive assessment of the CPIA.

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“Furthermore, through our participation in the process as govt, we should be able to identify polices and weaknesses that may still hinder our policy review initiatives that we earmark for further reform.”

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He said that opportunities offered by the inclusive CPIA approach enable the sharing of documentary evidence which could have been absent in earlier reviews, and that evidence is of legal and institutional dimension.

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CPIA reviews have been done as a WB institutional process with broad based participation that excluded governments. The inclusion of government participation for a review is a first for WB.

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WB country manager for Zimbabwe Camile Nuamah said the bank has tried the concept in four different countries and failed to get a result, succeeding only in Zimbabwe.