African Development Bank Group (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina said Friday there is collective action among partners to help Zimbabwe out of the woods, signalling a vote of confidence in the country’s arrears clearance roadmap.
Zimbabwe is working on a programme to clear the US$5.7bn and US$2.6bn debts to bilateral and multilateral creditors respectively, as it seeks unlock fresh lines of credit to reboot the economy.
In his closing remarks at the end of the bank group’s annual meetings in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Adesina said there was a “fantastic session” on Zimbabwe on Wednesday, painting a rosy outlook on the country’s effort to mend relations with bilateral and multilateral creditors.
“It [the session] was incredible and you got a sense of collective action to put our hand around Zimbabwe. There is still a lot of work to be done. A lot—economic, governance, land issues. But there is an agreement we should work together and get solutions to help Zimbabwe out of sanctions situation,” said Adesina, who was last year appointed as a champion of Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance plan.
The thawing of frosty relations between Zimbabwe and its creditors comes after Adesina last week told a High Level Debt Resolution Forum in Harare that parties had warmed up to the high level dialogue during a recent charm offensive to the United States and hoped that it would translate into “concrete and measurable progress on the ground to inform a consideration of the lifting of the sanctions under ZIDERA”.
Adesina and high level facilitator and former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano met leaders in the US Congress, Treasury Department, State Department, and other US agencies.
“We need to ensure that there is concrete and measurable progress on the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), which is critical for re-engagement with the United States. We must do all to fully fulfill all the conditions under ZIDERA so that verifiable progress made can be used to support advocacy for the lifting of the sanctions imposed by the US Congress under ZIDERA,” Adesina said.
In the first leg of the arrears clearance and debt resolution process, Zimbabwe has pledged to undertake economic and governance reforms as well as paying the US$3.5bn compensation to former farm owners and compensation of those whose farms were protected under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.
Three sector working groups have been formed and there are benchmarks, which would be used to track progress.
Zimbabwe’s total consolidated debt stands at US$17.5bn. It is in arrears for failing to service debts to the AfDB, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.