AfDB sets asides grant to help Zimbabwe clear its arrears

Patrick Chinamasa 5

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) says it would assist Zimbabwe clear its arrears with the bank after setting aside a grant for an undisclosed amount.

“The amount is yet to be determined by their board. They have assured us that those funds will be available for us up to end of December next year otherwise if don’t utilise them between now and December next year the funds will disappear and they will need to go into the market again to mobilise new resources,” Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told journalists on Wednesday.

Chinamasa was addressing a joint press conference with AfDB director Sibry Tapsoda who is heading the mission to assist with a strategy for debt clearance.

Tapsoba indicated that the total amount of arrears of Zimbabwe to the AfDB amounts to $601 million and the resources that the bank is putting together will only clear the AfDB arrears.

The AfDB director said Zimbabwe has shown much commitment to settle its arrears.

“Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international community will unlock the potential of this country, attract foreign investment and provide more confidence that Zimbabwe is ready for business.

“We are here because we want to assure Zimbabwe of the commitment of the AfDB to continue assisting the country in clearing its arrears. The level of resources that we will be putting in this operation will be decided after we return to Abidjan. At this point in time we have just reassured the minister that we have the resources to do so,” he said.

Tapsoba who is heading a 12 member delegation is in the country at Zimbabwe’s invitation to discuss strategies to clear the country’s debt arrears.

“We are hosting them, he is leading a 12 member delegation and they are here to discuss with us our strategy to clear our debt arrears to the three multi-lateral financial institutions IMF, Wold Bank and AfDB who are the preferred creditors,” Chinamasa said.

Zimbabwe debt arrears to the three lenders are at $1.8 billion while total external debt is at $8 billion.

He added that they briefed them on the reform agenda for the past two years being carried under the IMF Staff Monitored Programme.

“We also briefed them and told them of our expectations as we go forward that the AfDB being our continental institution should demonstrate leadership in the unfolding strategy to ensure that
Zimbabwe is able to clear its arrears.

“They are quite happy to play that leadership role and it will entail co-ordination, of course, of all stakeholders in this matter as we get towards Lima in Peru in October,” said the finance minister.

Chinamasa said AfDB has also availed a $5 mln grant to assist Zimbabwe register its affiliation to the African Trade Insurance board. FinX