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Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe govt committed to tackle debt arrears

by Staff reporter
24 Feb 2023 at 17:42hrs | Views
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday said his administration is committed to clearing external debt arrears which have prevented the country from accessing fresh capital from global financial institutions.

Mnangagwa made the remarks during a meeting with international creditors in the capital Harare.

Zimbabwe's external debt stood at US$14, 043bn in September 2022 from about US$8bn in 2019. Out of this amount US$6.3bn are arrears.

Zimbabwe owes US$1.48bn to the World Bank, AfDB (US$671m), the European Investment Bank (US$372m) while the Paris Club and non-Paris Club are owed US$3.55bn and US$2.22bn respectively.

The balance is owed to bilateral creditors, multilateral creditors, blocked funds, Treasury bonds and other creditors.

"This initiative highlights my government's commitment to clear our outstanding debt arrears, including those to the African Development Bank Group, other multilateral institutions, and bilateral creditors," Mnangagwa said.

He added: "Zimbabwe's debt overhang continues to weigh down heavily on our development efforts. We have no access to new lines of credit, including from the multilateral banks, such as the World Bank Group.

"The Zimbabwean Government and the African Development Bank Group agreed therefore, to put this Structured Dialogue Platform in place, to provide space for constructive and structured dialogue on arrears clearance and debt resolution.

"Rest assured, that as a government, we are very keen to see Zimbabwe in good standing with all its creditors and determined  to deliver favourable outcomes for the people of our country and the expectations of creditors.

"I am personally appreciative of the valuable contributions and engagements since the first Structured Dialogue

Platform meeting and stand ready to maintain an open door policy, as an avenue to resolve any outstanding issues.

Finally, I want to express my profound gratitude to the president of African Development Bank, Akinwumi  Adesina, our Champion, and his staff at the African Development Bank Group for their steadfast and generous support towards Zimbabwe's arrears clearance and debt resolution process."

Speaking at the same event, former president of the Republic of Mozambique, Joaquim  Chissano said the debt arrears  dialogue was an "unique opportunity not to be squandererd".

"The  lack of dialogue  to address the issue  has been a major stumbling block. This is a unique opportunity and should not be squandered.   Zimbabwe must reclaim its position in SADC. Therefore, the commitment to make and implement critical reforms should be ensured. Political cohension and will are of essence as well in this current situation," Chissano said.

He added: "Lets step up and address this challenge of debt arrears. This (dialogue platform ) presents an excellent opportunity not only for the settlement of the debt arrears  but also of building good relations and trust between the parties involved. "

Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank Group said it was time to help Zimbabwe tackle its debt arrears problem.

"Today marks the beginning. I accepted to be the champion of this programme because I know the potential of Zimbabwe. Its now time rebuild, it now time to refrain from casting stones, its now time for peace. Its now time to deal with debt arrears for Zimbabwe. Now is the time to forget about the past , we must look forward. It's now time for all of us to build a new and prosperous Zimbabwe," Adesina said.

He added: "Lets seize the moment. Let us build trust and let us rebuild Zimbabwe."

Source - Business Times