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AfDB to bail out Zimbabwe

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VICTORIA FALLS — The African Development Bank (AfDB) yesterday announced a secondary relief plan for Zimbabwe and accompanied it with a pledge to help the country take care of its deliquent external debt, giving it a chance to access fresh credit. Nkosana Moyo, AfDB vice president and chief operating officer said the hybrid plan falls outside the multilateral lender’s conventional lending business and would be administered through a multi-donor trust fund backed by a country office, which would be opened in Harare soon. The trust fund is a window for fragile states and countries emerging from conflict. “The AfDB approved the opening of a country office in Zimbabwe. It will be running in a couple of months,” Moyo said. “Currently there are people on the ground, but they are on what we call an ‘extended mission’. The office will manage a multi-donor fund, which is targeted at funding water and sanitation and power distribution infrastructure.” Under this financial window for fragile states, the AfDB would mobilise funds from “the usual donors” and disburse it to beneficiary countries as targeted aid. Moyo was upbeat the trust fund would be “quite significant”. “The issue of Zimbabwe’s HIPC question also came up,” Moyo said. “We cannot support Zimbabwe in a normal way because it has a debt overhang. But if Zimbabwe agrees, we can help it liquidate its overhang. That is, if it agrees. We have got a plan, which can work for it.”

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