11-30-18 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe seeks to clear World Bank, AfDB arrears by end of 2019

 

Zimbabwe hopes to have cleared its 1.8 billion U.S. dollars arrears to the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) by end of next year, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said Wednesday.

He said there were various financing options that the government was pursing to settle the long-term arrears that have kept Zimbabwe outside the international capital markets for close to two decades.

Zimbabwe has struggled to access international credit since it started defaulting on its debts to world lenders two decades ago.  However, the country in October last year settled its 108 million dollars debt arrears to the International Monetary Fund as part of initial steps to retire its overdue international obligations amounting to over 6 billion dollars.

Ncube said after clearing the World Bank and AfDB arrears, the country will move to the next phase of clearing debts to other bilateral creditors such as the Paris Club.  He said the country would also explore the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) option to clear some of its debt arrears.  “We have mobilized enough resources to be able to do that (clear the arrears) using our own resources as well as resources and commitments from partners,” said Ncube.

“It’s a matter of sequencing our reforms to make sure that we are able to meet the criteria for our partners to come on board. We will have access to resources from the WB and we pay the arrears and they literally refund us and that’s how we will get back in terms of drawdowns. “Again we have negotiated with partners and we have a program of action, a road map of how to get there,” Ncube said.

Xinhua

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