WB tightens screws on US$7m Zim COVID-19 grant

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

THE United States government has said the US$7 million grant extended to Zimbabwe by the World Bank (WB) will come with stringent accountability measures to ensure that it is not abused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

BY PRECIOUS CHIDA

On Wednesday, the WB announced a US$7 million grant towards the country’s COVID-19 response.

Of the US$7 million, US$5 million will come from the Global Financing Facility Trust Funds while the rest will be redirected from the Zimbabwe Idai Recovery project.

The money comes as a relief to Mnangagwa’s troubled government after Finance minister Mthuli Ncube last month wrote to WB, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank begging for a bailout package.

But the US chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) said the US$7 million funding would be accompanied by strict measures to avoid being lost to mismanagement by Mnangagwa’s government.

“The US$7m World Bank grant for Zimbabwe reported today should come with strict transparency and accountability measures to ensure Zimbabweans receive services and support during COVID-19 and that these funds aren’t lost to ongoing mismanagement by the Zimbabwean government.” Risch said.

Zimbabwe, which is under US sanctions since 2001 over human rights abuses, has been denied credit lines by the Bretton Woods institutions that have been demanding economic and political reforms.

In the leaked letter to the WB and IMF, Ncube admitted policy missteps, corruption and excessive government expenditure had resulted in the collapse of the country’s economy.

Kenya on Wednesday received US$739 million from IMF while Mozambique also received US$309 for its COVID-19 response.

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