President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has pledged to address the country’s long-standing debt arrears and re-engage with development partners and creditors to revive the economy through sustainable growth driven by partnerships and multilateral financial assistance.
During a roundtable meeting at the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual general meetings, President Mnangagwa called for support from international financial institutions and development partners in the process of clearing arrears and resolving debt.
The meeting, attended by representatives from SADC, Comesa, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and various countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland, aimed to discuss Zimbabwe’s debt resolution process.
Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, the High-Level facilitator, and Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, were also present.
President Mnangagwa highlighted that the government adopted the Arrears Clearance, Debt Relief, and Restructuring Strategy in December 2021 to tackle the country’s lingering debt burden, which has hindered development efforts.
To operationalize the strategy, Dr Adesina accepted the role of Champion of the arrears clearance and debt resolution process, with former President Chissano acting as the High-Level facilitator.
A Structured Dialogue Platform was established to facilitate constructive engagement with creditors and development partners.
The agreed pillars for implementation include economic reforms, governance and reforms, land tenure reforms, compensation for former white farm owners, and the resolution of Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAS).
Regular technical meetings have been held, involving representatives from the government, international creditors, development partners, the private sector, and civil society organizations.
The dialogue process has helped build trust, confidence, and consensus among stakeholders.
President Mnangagwa expressed concern over the lack of access to external concessionary financing, which has compelled Zimbabwe to rely on internally generated funds for infrastructure development projects in areas such as airports, border posts, and health and education facilities.
He appealed to development partners and international financial institutions to increase support for the comprehensive arrears clearance and debt resolution process, emphasizing the need to fund productive sectors and protect vulnerable sectors like education, health, food security, and climate change.
As part of the engagement and re-engagement agenda, President Mnangagwa assured that Zimbabwe remains committed to honoring its debt obligations.
The country’s total debt stands at US$17.5 billion, with arrears accounting for 80 percent of the total. Zimbabwe has been making token payments to Multilateral Development Banks and its Paris Club creditors.
The President commended development partners and creditor countries for their patience, constructive dialogue, and willingness to engage on Zimbabwean issues.
The technical and structured dialogue meetings will continue as a platform for inclusive and frank discussions, monitoring progress on reform implementation, exchanging information at the technical level, and providing technical support to the process.
President Mnangagwa applauded Dr Adesina and President Chissano for engaging the US administration to address specific issues concerning Zimbabwe’s historical relations with certain creditors.
The support and commitment shown by development partners and creditors for the arrears clearance and debt resolution process were acknowledged and appreciated.