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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

President Mnangagwa’s address at the 2nd Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution engagement

I welcome you to this important High-Level Debt Resolution Forum, which is part of the Zimbabwe’s Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution process.

The Government of Zimbabwe established this platform in our quest to resolve the country’s arrears and debt overhang, which continues to weigh heavily on Zimbabwe’s socio-economic development agenda.

In spite of the challenges associated with the debt overhang and further exacerbated by the albatross of the illegal economic sanctions, Zimbabwe is realising key milestones towards moving our country forward for the good of our people. Guided by the national Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy, tremendous progress has been made through reforms to achieve macro-economic stability and sustainable inclusive economic development.

These include fiscal consolidation and enhancement of fiscal transparency. This has seen us maintain fiscal deficits at less than 2 percent of GDP, while the wage bill remains at below 50 percent of total revenues.

The removal of subsidies on fuel, electricity and agricultural products, coupled with more efficient procurement processes to ensure value for money have positively impacted Zimbabwe’s economic stability and growth.

A sound Monetary Policy regime is in place towards the containment of money supply growth. Equally, the foreign exchange rate regime is anchored by the willing-buyer-willing -seller foreign exchange rate system, which has been enhanced by increasing and standardising the trading margins of authorised dealers.

Similarly, there is accelerated implementation of the Arrears Clearance, Debt Relief and Restructuring Strategy, while transparency and accountability is being nurtured through regular reporting as well as the publication of public debt statistics and information.

Public enterprise reforms, which are l part of our national development and modernisation agenda, remain a priority.

My Government stands committed to consolidating Constitutionalism, the rule of law, good constitutionally and protecting our governance enshrined rights and freedoms. Socio-economic milestones achieved to date, through our own domestic resources, have resulted in the economy registering notable GDP growth.

The ingenuity of our people is seeing the transformation of all sectors of the economy. However, there has been lack of access to external concessional financing to fund Zimbabwe’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and NDS-1 priority projects and programmes.

The health, education and social protection sectors have been equally affected, while the most vulnerable people such as women, the elderly and children are at risk. Impediments have also been faced with regards the country’s capacity to achieve our inclusive economic development goals, such as infrastructure investments and climate change mitigation and resilience.

As such, Zimbabwe’s sustainable economic recovery agenda requires augmentation by a comprehensive arrears clearance and debt resolution process which is backed by the International Financial Institutions and the international community at large. Informed by our Engagement and Re-engagement agenda, my Government has been making quarterly token payments to the Multilateral Development Banks.

There is need to nurture the trust and good will which continues to grow among all parties as we manage perceptions and mistrust. It is in this spirit that the implementation of the Arrears Clearance, Debt Relief and Restructuring Strategy has culminated in the establishment of this Structured Dialogue Platform.

I commend all stakeholders for the progress we have made to date. The growing, consensus and confidence in the process has seen the platform hosting successful Structured Dialogue Platform meetings as well as transparent and inclusive consultative processes.

It is also pleasing that the three pillars for implementation: Economic Reforms, Governance Reforms, and Land Tenure Reforms; Compensation of Former Farm Owners; and the resolution of Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements are making headway. The three Reform Matrices with regards the work plan going forward are now being finalised pending feedback from the Capitals of our creditors and Development Partners. In addition, my Government has begun engagements with those affected by BIPPAS on a case by case basis.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to our Champion, on this matter, President A. A. Adesina and our High-Level Facilitator, Former President of the Republic of Mozambique, H. E. J. A. Chissano who visited the United States of America in May 2023, for deeper bilateral engagements on behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe.

Distinguished Guests;
The successful implementation of this Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution process is critical for Zimbabwe to unlock new external financing, critical for economic development Zimbabwe’s
achieving objectives. Guided by our overall national interests, let me assure all stakeholders of my Government’s commitment to the implementation of reforms, identified under the three key pillars of this process.

We remain grateful for the unwavering support and solidarity Zimbabwe continues to receive from SADC and African Union member states.

To our Champion President A. A. Adesina, I would like to thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to the Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution process. I also recognise the financial support our country continues to receive from
the African Development Bank Group. I equally thank our High-Level Facilitator Former President of the Republic of Mozambique, H. E. J. A. Chissano, and your advisory team for the technical support you are rendering to this process.

To our Development Partners and creditor countries, we thank you for the patience, open and constructive dialogue and for speaking with Zimbabwe on Zimbabwean issues.

In this spirit, my door remains open to receive you individually and collectively for scaling up investment and partnerships for shared development, prosperity, and a higher quality of life for the people of Zimbabwe.

Finally, as you are aware, Zimbabwe will be holding the 2023 Harmonised General Elections.

I want to assure you all that my Government has put in place the requisite mechanisms to guarantee peaceful, free, fair and credible elections. International Observers are welcome and will be invited through the relevant channels at the appropriate time in accordance with our laws.

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