HARARE-President of the African Development Bank Group (ADB) Mr Donald Kaberuka told delegates at the just ended Euromoney Zimbabwe Investor Conference that his bank is ready to help Zimbabwe tackle its debt arrears.
Kaberuka said that an important issue that is currently standing in the way of Zimbabwe’s ability to raise the necessary finance and investments is that of debt overhang and distress.
He said that there is agreement that Zimbabwe’s external debt is unsustainable and continues to grow.Adding that he knows that the government is battling with it and resolution has to be a priority.
“We stand ready and indeed we are working with the authorities and other parties on this matter,” Kaberuka said.
He added that at ADB, they have in the context of their new soft window replenishment cycle set aside resources and look forward to an overall agreement reached with all creditors,multinational,bilateral and commercial.
“The bank has significant experience in this domain and l look forward to bring that experience to bear to tackle Zimbabwe’s debt,”
Kaberuka told investors and delegates present.
The Euromoney Investor Conference was held in Harare on 8 to 9 March, 2011 to market Zimbabwe as a major investment destination.
Zimbabwe’s foreign debt stood at more than USD 6.9 billion at the end of 2010 while the country has fallen behind on its payments to external creditors to the tune of USD 4.8 billion, according to latest data from the central bank. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said the southern African country’s total external debt stock amounted to USD 6,929 million as at Dec 31, 2010, representing
103 per cent of GDP.
Kaberuka says that since the inception of the Government of National Unity (GNU) the ADB has scaled up its re-engagement.
The bank has re-opened its offices in Harare and is working with authorities on external debt arrears to the bank which will pave way for full engagement.
The bank has also been able to take some interim measures to contribute to some of the immediate challenges faced by Zimbabwe.
These include:helping to restore water and sanitation systems in a number of municipalities, the recovery of agriculture and providing technical support and capacity in public finance,external debt management and statistics.
Also the international community has entrusted ADB with the management of the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Zimbabwe (The Zim
Fund) which Kaberuka says is a demonstration of confidence in the bank.
The MDTF is currently focusing on providing initial critical investments for the power and water sectors.