BY FARAI MATIASHE
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has urged the government to continue with its economic reform efforts and put in place measures that can attract foreign co-operation to stabilise the teetering economy.
Speaking at a post-Cyclone Idai project agreement signing ceremony in Harare yesterday, AfDB country manager Damoni Kitabire said his bank had sourced US$24,7 million worth of infrastructure resources.
“As you may be aware, we recently launched the updated Infrastructure Flagship report, which confirmed that the country needs US$33 billion over the next 10 years to be able to restore infrastructure facilities. Despite the huge needs, we again witnessed additional pressure when Cylone Idai hit the country recently, causing devastation, loss of lives, displacement and extensive damage to infrastructure in eight districts. The bank group immediately responded to the calamity of the cyclone by approving US$250 000 from our special relief fund to support the humanitarian aid response,” he said.
“Given the magnitude of the damages caused by the cyclone, the bank group mobilised additional resources to aid specifically in the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure. Totaling US$24,7 million. The resources have been mobilised from our transitional support facility and regional resource envelopes.
With this support, we urge the government to continue its reform efforts of the macro-economy and in particular efforts aimed at attracting adequate foreign exchange necessary for full restoration of macro-economic stability and rebuilding of general infrastructure in the country.”
Kitabire said, while the core components would respond to infrastructure restoration, particularly in energy, water and roads, the project would also generate considerable knowledge on building climate change resilience and adaptation options for government and local communities and help to inform design and management of similar future interventions.
The AfDB boss said the government had made a co-financing commitment of US$3,2 million to the project, making a total of US$27,9 million, which would assist infrastructure restoration in the eastern part of Zimbabwe.
“In terms of hard infrastructure restoration, the project will cover Manicaland province, particularly the most hard hit districts of Chipinge and Chimanimani with a combined population of approximately 434 000 people,” Kitabire said.
Speaking at the same event, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) head of programmes Thushanti Selvarajah said her organisation was going to implement the project.
“UNOPS is pleased to be the implementing agency of the Idai emergency recovery and resilience programme for Zimbabwe through a grant by the AfDB. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the government and communities in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts of Manicaland over a three-year period,” she said.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the grant was targeting restoration of services in transport, power, water, sanitation and agriculture to the affected as well as government’s capacity in disaster preparedness and management.