Zimbabwe appeals for AfDB aid to clear debt
HARARE – Zimbabwe has requested for assistance from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to clear its 7 billion U.S. dollars external debt which has prevented it from accessing fresh loans from multilateral financial institutions.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa made the request Monday during a meeting with the visiting delegation of AfDB executive directors who are on week-long annual field visit to assess projects being funded by the regional bank in the country.
“In our meeting I have emphasized that the AfDB should play a leading role in securing clearance of areas that we have accumulated with multilateral creditors, alongside the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” the minister said.
Zimbabwe owes the World Bank 1 billion U.S. dollars, the IMF 142 million dollars and 566 million U.S. dollars to the AfDB.
The debt-ridden country also owes the Paris Club 3.09 billion dollars and 350 million to the European Investment Bank.
Chinamasa said the huge external debt had become a major impediment to the country’s efforts to access concessionary borrowing from the multilateral lenders.
“I have tried to appeal to the bank to come up with a mechanism that will help us clear those areas. I am aware that they have done it with 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,” Chinamasa said.
The minister also appealed to the regional bank to support the country’s private sector, saying the move would help government to build capacity to pay its external arrears.
AfDB executive director and head of delegation Alieu Momodou Ngum said they also discussed with the finance minister how the regional bank can assist Zimbabwe to intensify re-engagement with the international community to unlock funding to accelerate economic development.
He said the AfDB was committed to assisting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery as shown by its continued support to the private sector despite the country owing it money.
“The AfDB as an African bank has demonstrated that it is a trusted and dependable partner of Zimbabwe. Even during the crisis we were here and with limited resources we have provided emergency assistance in critical areas of the economy,” said Momodou Ngum.
The AfDB has invested 195 million in support of economic programs in Zimbabwe since 2011. Xinhua