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AfDB to convene Zim resolution debt forum
16/05/2014 00:00:00
by The Source
 
Debt resolution conference ... Patrick Chinamasa
 
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THE African Development Bank will convene a debt resolution forum later this year to help Zimbabwe clear its mountain of defaulted external debt of $10 billion, which could pave way for new investment, finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa said on Friday.

The forum, in September, would be the second in two years for Zimbabwe, which last year undertook an International Monetary Fund-led staff-monitored programme aimed at helping it to clear its external debts and give it access to much-needed new international credit.

The IMF in January approved a six-month extension of the programme after Harare fell behind targets.

Zimbabwe owes AfDB around $528 million in arrears while the total debt is $726 million. The country also owes $926 million to World Bank in arrears and a total debt of $1.3 billion while IMF is owed $124 million.

The outgoing World Bank country manager for Zimbabwe, Mungai Lenneiye told The Source on Friday that Zimbabwe does not qualify for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries programme because of its current production and export capacity.

Western donours have gradually eased sanctions on Harare and finance its economic recovery efforts under the Zimbabwe Multi-donor Trust Fund (ZimFund), which is managed by the AfDB.

“AfDB president Donald Kaberuka is…taking a leading role to convene the next debt resolution forum slated for September.

“The forum seeks to move forward and finalise Zimbabwe’s debt resolution process. We are grateful for that,” Chinamasa said in a speech read on his behalf by the debt office manager Andrew Bvumbe.

The bank celebrated its 50th anniversary on Friday.

“The innovativeness of the bank in the implementation of ZimFund, now capitalized to the tune of about $125 million, is much appreciated. Allow me to take this opportunity to invite development partners to scale up their support for ZimFund,” Chinamasa said.

“In spite of the existing arrears to the bank, our relationship with the bank is satisfactory. Our commitment as a country is to normalize our relations through a comprehensive debt and arrears clearance strategy with all creditors.”



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