Govt likely to miss $1.75bn farmer compensation for second time

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Zimbabwe will likely again miss a payment of $1.75 billion it pledged to make to White farmers evicted from their land two decades ago.

Under the so-called Global Compensation Deed, signed in 2020, the farmers would receive a total $3.5 billion for the evictions in 2000, which decimated agricultural production. Half the money was supposed to have been paid out within the first year, followed by four $437.5 million annual installments.

Farmers are still working with the government to try to raise funds, Andrew Pascoe, president of the Commercial Farmers Union, said by phone from Harare, the capital. “Nothing is definite at this stage,” he said.

The Harare-based Business Times newspaper earlier reported that the state couldn’t secure the money from development partners and international financiers, citing people it didn’t identify.

Resolving the dispute of farmer compensation is key to the country pulling out of the economic stagnation that the seizures, ordered by then-President Robert Mugabe, triggered. Exports plunged, relations with multilateral lenders were severed, the U.S and the European Union imposed sanctions, and hyperinflation forced the nation to abandon its currency.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube didn’t immediately respond to two calls on his mobile phone seeking comment.

Last year, the government deferred making the $1.75 billion payment to this July. It appointed London-based NewState Partners as transaction advisors in April to help raise the funds from international financiers.