- Nation must clear arrears before it can borrow more, he says
- Country seeks $10 billion of investments to cut jobless rate
Zimbabwe will clear almost $2 billion of arrears with the African Development Bank and the World Bank by October 2019 and seek help from the world’s most-industrialized nations known as the Group of Seven, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said.
After settling the World Bank and AfDB arrears, Ncube wants to engage with the Paris Club of creditor countries, to which Zimbabwe owes about $2.8 billion, and he will lobby for special assistance similar to that the World Bank and IMF give to heavily indebted poor countries or for complete debt forgiveness, he said.
Ncube wants to reduce Zimbabwe’s budget deficit to a “single digit” over the next two years, saying the country is “living beyond our means.” About 21 percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 daily, World Bank data show.
$10 Billion Investment
In a bid to become a middle-income economy by 2030, Ncube said the country wants to attract $10 billion of investment in the next two to five years.
“That needs to come in order to create jobs,” he said. The country’s jobless rate is 90 percent.
Foreign-exchange shortages and austerity measures have left consumers facing long lines for everything from fuel to bread and sugar, and sent prices soaring. Zimbabwe accepts the dollar, euro and rand as legal tender and introduced its own bond notes amid a dearth of hard cash, but their value has plunged.
“Because of low confidence in the banking sector, foreign currency is by passing the banking system,” Ncube said. “That is why you can’t find dollars. So the idea is ‘how do we get dollars back in the system?’ We are going through this transitional phase.”