Zimbabwe seeks AfDB help to clear arrears

HARARE,– Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has appealed to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to assist the debt ridden country settle its nearly $1 billion arrears owed to multilateral lenders.

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Zimbabwe seeks AfDB help to clear arrears

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Chinamasa told a media briefing after holding a closed door meeting with eight visiting AfDB executive directors that Zimbabwe has limited financial resources to meet its international obligations and requires more aid to grow the economy.

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He said private sector support would improve government’s revenue and ability to settle its debts. Already the bank has extended credit to companies such as Lake Harvest.

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“In our meeting I have emphasized that the African Development Bank should play a leading role in securing clearance of arrears we have accumulated with the multilateral creditors,” Chinamasa said.

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“I have tried to appeal to the bank to come with a mechanism that will help us clear those arrears. I am aware that they have done it in respect to other countries and my appeal to them is that they should bend over backwards to assist us so that we become part of the global economy.”

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Zimbabwe owes the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and AfDB over a $1 billion in arrears which resulted in the country being starved off concessionary funding by the multilateral lenders.

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“I have also emphasized to the bank that they should also support the private sector. The fact that the country is in arrears does not prevent the bank from supporting the private sector and I have been asking the question, why have they not been supporting the private sector,” he said.

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“I also hope that in future we will access their window of concessionary borrowing because that is what we need to catch up, especially in respect to infrastructure.”

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Spokesperson for the delegation, Alieu Momodou Ngum said the regional bank would help Zimbabwe reengage with the international community.  He said the visit would help the AfDB asses the progress made by government projects being funded by the bank.

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“This country has a lot of potential. It has a very skilled workforce, it has a high literacy rate and it also has basic infrastructure in place,” Ngum said.

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“What we are working on and our discussions with government is how to intensify re-engagement with the international community which will release funds to accelerate the development of the country.”

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The executive directors, he said,  will meet business organizations, the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and farmers who acquired land during the chaotic land reform programme and non-governmental organisations. – The Source