HomeNewsCall to audit Zimbabwe’s $7bn debt

Call to audit Zimbabwe’s $7bn debt

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International civic society organisations have urged financial lenders to investigate how Zimbabwe accumulated the $7 billion debt to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

This comes against a backdrop of reports that some of the money could have been used by the then Zanu PF government to fund political repression.

In a report published last week, the Zimbabwe Europe Network, the Jubilee Debt Campaign Coalition and European Network on Debt and Development called for the immediate audit of the loans offered to Zimbabwe since the 1990s.

“At least $750 million of debt came directly from
structural adjustment loans from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank which lowered economic growth and increased unemployment,” reads the report by the three organisations.

The report revealed that Zimbabwe’s £210 million debt to the United Kingdom included loans from Tony Blair’s government to Zimbabwe’s police force.

According to the report, police were loaned money in the 1990s to buy 1 500 Land Rovers, backed by UK Export Finance, then known as the Export Credits Guarantee Department, a unit of the Department for Business.

These loans continue to make up £21 million of Zimbabwe’s debt to the UK.

The report indicates that in 2000, Zimbabwe was one of the countries felt to be in need of urgent debt cancellation.

Other loans exposed by the report, contributing to Zimbabwe’s debt include, money from the WB for tree plantations to create fuel supplies.

Zimbabwe also got a loan from the Spanish government to buy Spanish military aircraft and the UK unspecified “aid” loans, which were tied to buying exports from British companies.

Finance minister Tendai Biti has already initiated negotiations to have its debts cancelled while the country is declared a heavily indebted poor country (HIPC).

However, the international civic bodies have opposed the proposal arguing this would trap Zimbabwe in further cycles of debt while keeping the questionable details of previous loans out of the public eye.

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