African states give Zimbabwe a meagre $400 million credit: report

HARARE – Zimbabwe has secured $400 million in credit lines from African countries to revive its ailing industries, battered by years of economic contraction and hyper-inflation, state media reported on Wednesday.

The Herald newspaper quoted Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube as saying African countries had committed to providing the credit lines to companies in Zimbabwe.

A unity government formed by rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has appealed for billions of dollars to repair the shattered economy.

"Minister Ncube said Zimbabwe had managed to secure about $200 million from countries in the Southern African Development Community and another $200 million from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to meet urgent and pressing working capital requirements for local companies," the Herald reported.

Ncube did not say which countries had offered the funds, but said companies would start accessing the credit lines in the next few weeks.

Zimbabwe’s industries are currently operating at an average 10 percent of capacity, but a new government economic plan has targeted to raise this to about 60 percent by the end of the year.

The country’s manufacturing sector has been affected by the decline in agriculture following Mugabe’s seizure of white farms to resettle landless blacks.

Donors, who are expected to provide the bulk of funding for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery, have demanded broad economic and political reforms, including ending a new wave of farm invasions targeting the few remaining white farmers.