AFDB team expected in Zimbabwe next week

By Stanley James, Business Editor

AN African Development Bank (AfDB) team will be in Zimbabwe next week to assess economic reforms, engage the government and review support to the private sector.

The team, which will be led by the AFDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina comes after the multilateral financier accepted government’s request for the bank to lead the country’s debt repayment strategy.

A schedule of the proposed visit gleaned by the ZBC News shows that officials from the bank will also hold talks with government ministers, central bank authorities, the private sector, economic experts and development partners.

The business community has described the visit as crucial on Zimbabwe’s re-engagement drive and offering a platform towards increased support from the AFDB.

“The visit is being made at a time when there are global economic shocks to such an extent that it provides an opportunity for government to exchange ideas with  officials from the bank on what can be done to facilitate growth and guard against macro- economic shocks, so it is really coming at an opportune  time,” said Mr Garikayi Munemo, Managing Director – Escrow Group.

“Zimbabwe is an economy that is reeling under a huge foreign debt overhang so interventions from the AFDB are also needed as they will set the tone to international financiers on commitment by Zimbabwe to clear arrears as well as the intentions behind a comprehensive roadmap to fulfill such a noble mandate,” noted Pan African Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Mr Langton Mabhanga.

An unsustainable foreign debt is being cited as a stumbling block for the nation to access long term financing from both bilateral and multilateral creditors.

The AFDB has also indicated in its outlook report that despite the macro economic challenges coupled by inflation, unstable exchange rates and global shocks, Zimbabwe’s economy will this year register a modest positive growth rate.

According to the bank, the visit to Zimbabwe also indicates its commitment towards ensuring economic growth in the Southern African economies.

In Zimbabwe, the institution currently supports 15 projects valued at over US$180 million, such as water and sanitation, energy projects and private sector investments.