But depends on free and fair elections, arrears clearance
Enacy Mapakame in SANDTON, South Africa
Multilateral financial institutions have agreed to extend to Zimbabwe an intervention package worth billions to revive the country’s economy, according to Finance and Economic Planning Deputy Minister Terrence Mukupe.
The financial intervention is however dependent on whether the country holds elections that are deemed by Western observers as ‘free and fair’, he added.
It will also hinge on Zimbabwe wiping off its debts to the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank (WB) and other global financiers.
In this regard, the AfDB has since promised a financial rescue package of $500 million, said Deputy Minister Mukupe.
He told stakeholders attending the Financial Markets Indaba (FMI) in Sandton, South Africa that the $500 million grant pledged by the AfDB was on condition that Zimbabwe pays back $600 million it owes to the regional financier.
This, he said, was a tall order for the country but strategies to retire such debts and other arrears would fall in place after the harmonised elections which he said would be held around July 20, at the earliest.
Indications are that investors from across the globe and financiers have adopted a wait-and-see approach on how Zimbabwe will carry out the upcoming harmonised elections.
It is also understood that the International Financial Corporations (IFCs) requested that Zimbabwe treats all its debts equally before they can release any further funding for the country.
“Already, AfDB has $500 million that can be released within 48 hours but the condition is we should first pay what we owe them and other IFCs and it is clear the only thing that is affecting us to deal with debt is political, and this will be cleared with elections.
“We are clear the mechanisms that we have put in place will be sorted once we hold free and fair elections.
“That is why I am saying after the elections we will be able to deal with all that
“When we went to Lima, the World Bank (WB) insisted we should treat the money lenders equally.
“IFCs will not give us anything until we clear what we owe to AfDB and WB,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said after the harmonised elections, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa said would be open for all observers, more investment was anticipated to start pouring into the country.
“Our total debt is not more than $5 billion, you will see that this will be nothing after we go through free and fair elections, actually we could be under-borrowed,” he said.
Deputy Minister Mukupe added Government was committed to creating a conducive environment for business growth and attract foreign investment through policy measures as well as aligning investment laws in line with international best practice.
Stakeholders at the meeting agreed Zimbabwe was moving in the right direction in building a positive sentiment.
Russian-Ukranian firm, West Property executive chairman Ken Sharpe said there was potential for business growth in Zimbabwe, adding that his firm was scouting for more opportunities.
The one-day Financial Markets Indaba was held under the theme ‘Beyond the Headlines’ and brought together Zimbabweans and potential investors from across the world.