The Zimbabwean government held the fifth in a series of structured dialogue meetings with development partners and creditors.
The Zimbabwean finance and economic development ministry organised the meeting to review three draft policy reform matrices on economics, governance and land tenure and compensation to former farmers under the terms of what are known as the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements.
Since late 2022, the government of Zimbabwe has been engaged in a concerted process to resolve its official debt and clear its arrears with international creditors, including the African Development Bank.
Zimbabwe has been a regional member of the African Development Bank since 1980, and the Bank has played a substantial role in its development over the years. As a result, the President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina—widely recognised as one of Africa’s most ardent growth proponents, to champion the debt and arrears clearance process.
Welcoming participants, Andrew Bvumbe, Head of the Zimbabwe Public Debt Management Office, announced that the government has listened to the call by development partners to hold a low-key 5th dialogue platform meeting focusing on technical issues and feedback from three sector working groups, met earlier in the week.
“As part of implementation of low hanging fruit, the government of Zimbabwe, has formally requested a staff monitored program from the International Monetary Fund, and we received positive feedback from the IMF.” He said technical discussions with the IMF were continuing.
Meanwhile, development partners welcomed this news. They expressed hope that Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections would be free, fair, and credible, as promised by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. They also commended the government for what was described as the considerable progress made in the three sector working groups, and they stressed the importance of concrete action going forward.
Assurance to Development Partners
Bvumbe assured development partners of the government’s full commitment, from the highest level, to the arrears clearance and debt resolution process, including implementing the reforms captured in the three matrices.
“Let us continue with constructive open dialogue, in good faith, to build confidence and trust in this process,” he said, adding, “The Government of Zimbabwe remains available for any bilateral discussions concerning reforms and any related issues to the arrears clearance and debt resolution process.”
In line with the roadmap set by Zimbabwe’s finance and economic development minister, Mthuli Ncube, the structured dialogue platform and sector working group meetings are to continue at a technical level during the country’s election period. The structured dialogue meetings are expected to continue after the August 23rd harmonized elections.
Participants of the meeting included a team of advisors from the office of the high-level facilitator on the debt and arrears clearance resolution process (former President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique), senior Zimbabwean government officials, representatives from various development partner and creditor countries, the Southern Africa Development Community, the African Union, civil society organisations, the private sector, and farmers’ organizations and unions.
Zimbabwe’s total consolidated debt amounts to US$17.5 billion. Debt owed to international creditors stands at US$14.04 billion, while domestic debt comes to US$3.4 billion. Debt owed to bilateral creditors is estimated at US$5.75 billion, while debt to multilateral creditors is estimated at US$2.5 billion.
The country Is in arrears for servicing its debt, with arrears to multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank.