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27/07/2010 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
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THE African Development Bank is re-opening its Zimbabwe branch “to take a lead in and manage” a multi-donor trust fund set up by the so called Fishmongers Group – a controversial outfit of foreign donors who say they can raise between US$1-1.5 billion annually to stabilise Zimbabwe’s economy.

The bank’s vice president Nkosana Moyo -- a former Zimbabwe cabinet minister -- said the office would be opened “in a couple of months”, revealing that the AfDB would be taking over the Fishmongers’ account currently with the World Bank.

“Our board approved last week the re-opening of an office in Zimbabwe. It is primarily to manage a multi-donor trust fund targeted at specific areas to work with the government of Zimbabwe,” Moyo told an infrastructure development and investment conference in London last Friday.

“This trust fund which we have been entrusted to manage, essentially to take a lead in ... all of the donors, the so-called Fishmongers Group, they have committed to put money in. This trust fund was actually housed at the World Bank and we were asked to take it over in order to manage it and specifically try to see if we can help Zimbabwe to address some of the rehabilitation issues.

“Water, sanitation and power -- that’s where it’s going to be targeted. We expect it to be effective within a couple of months if all goes according to plan.”

Moyo saiod the fund would also “address the issue of institutional capacity building”, but added: “Personally as a Zimbabwean, I do not believe Zimbabwe needs that but when you are asking for money from other people, if they say so, you go along and do what is necessary. That’s one of the things you learn when you are a banker, you have to learn to meet your bankers halfway.”

The Fishmongers Group’s intentions in Zimbabwe have split the unity government formed in February 2009 by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Mugabe’s Zanu PF party says the Fishmongers – named after the Harare restaurant where the fund was first mooted – are “working overtime to destroy the economy, mutilate the Zimbabwe dollar, foment civil unrest and then dangle a rescue package to win the support of gullible politicians.”

At its December 2009 Congress, Zanu PF passed a resolution which said: “Congress further notes, with grave concern, the continued efforts by Britain and its allies to undermine the Global Political Agreement and the inclusive government through the continuance of sanctions, coordination of politically motivated humanitarian support and investor resistance through the so-called ‘Fishmonger Group’ as well as the West’s unrelenting efforts to shrink Zimbabwe’s diplomatic space.


“Congress, therefore, resolves to direct the Party to pursue prudent and innovative diplomacy which seeks to retain its existing friendships and cultivate new ones in all regions of the world based on equitable partnerships, mutual respect and sovereign equality.”

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