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AfDB considers $25m Zim grant

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THE AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) is working on a $25 million grant facility to assist the government in setting up a public private sector partnership framework as a well as capacity building for the Zimbabwe debt management office.

Report by Bernard Mpofu Chief Business Reporter

Donors have also mobilised $120 million to finance urban water supply and sanitation rehabilitation projects. The latest support comes at a time the regional bank has pledged to increase financial support to the country should it clear its growing external debt, a senior bank official has said.

AfDB chief economist resident in Zimbabwe Damoni Kitabire on Monday told delegates attending the first annual Medium-Term Plan (MTP) review that the regional bank was ready to assist the country, which is currently saddled with a $10 billion debt, to rebuild the economy.

In the absence of a debt strategy, Kitabire said, the AfDB would only offer technical support to government. He, however, commended steps by the government to craft a debt strategy, saying the country could be inching closer to debt settlement. Responding to follow up questions sent by NewsDay yesterday, Kitabire said the grant would also facilitate capacity enhancement at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zimbabwe Statistics Agency and offer support in the implementation of the MTP.
“We are currently working on a $25 million grant facility. The project has been appraised and will be seeking the bank’s approval before the end of this year,” he said.

“The bank has supported Zimbabwe’s recovery over the past three years with assistance of about $4 million for enhancing public sector management and institutions. The assistance provided comprised mainly of technical assistance and institutional capacity building funded with grant resources from the bank.”

The support, Kitabire said, was targeted at improving economic governance and enhancing the effectiveness of public service delivery in public financial management, statistics and external debt management.

“In addition, the bank has supported the Chitungwiza Water and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project with a grant of two million euros from the African Water Facility. Further, over $120 million has been mobilised from various bilateral donors, including Australia, Germany, UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland — for the Zimfund for the financing of the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project and the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project.” The government, according to the AfDB, needs over $10 billion in the next five years to resuscitate its run down infrastructure, now widely blamed for making local companies uncompetitive.

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