Govt secures $200m loan for maize imports

GOVERNMENT has secured $200 million from African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to fund maize imports to mitigate the effects of hunger induced by erratic rains received this wet season.


Speaking at a breakfast meeting in Harare yesterday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said the country had 250 000 metric tonnes of maize in its strategic grain reserves from last year’s deliveries which he said would last until September.


“We have arranged a facility of $200 million from Afreximbank and we are doing it now because of logistics and we will be importing from anywhere in the world. We know that there will be high demand of maize from the region, so that is why we are doing it now,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe president Sam Malaba said the country needed to import about one million metric tonnes of maize. He said the 700 000 metric tonnes projected by government might prove inadequate as most of the maize crop had been affected by the El Nino-induced erratic rains.

Zimbabwe last experienced an El Nino phenomenon in 1997.

The European Union’s Brussels office has provided €125 million to assist countries that have been affected by El Nino and were currently working on the issue at the moment. Of this amount, €12,5 million has been allocated to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Zimbabwe in particular would receive €3,5 million.

Early this week, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Phillippe van Damme said: “The Brussels office is processing the proposals for the €3,5 million for Zimbabwe, but Zimbabwe needs much more and EU and the member states will have to give more to Zimbabwe as it requires more.”

Van Damme said there was competition for humanitarian aid due to the drought situation facing various countries at the moment.

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