RELATIONS between Zimbabwe and the Bretton Woods institutions are likely to be further strained after President Robert Mugabe apparently declined to meet the new Inter-national Monetary Fund
(IMF) managing director, Rodrigo de Rato, recently.
Mugabe was due to meet with the new IMF chief on the sidelines of the African Union meeting in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou on September 8. However, the Zimbabwean delegation failed to confirm the meeting whilst the IMF team waited.
It is not clear who had suggested the meeting but it is understood that Mugabe had agreed in principle to meet De Rato.
“The call to confirm the meeting from the Zimbabwe side did not come through and as a result the meeting did not take place as scheduled,” IMF spokesman David Hawley was quoted as telling Bloomberg news agency.
This is likely to complicate relations between the IMF and Zimbabwe which are already frosty. Mugabe has shown deep resentment towards the Bretton Woods institution despite efforts by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono to mend relations with it and other multilateral organisations.
Mugabe lashed out at the IMF, accusing it of telling lies about Zimbabwe, in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.
“We plead with the IMF to stop its strange political mouthings, lies and fabrication about our situation,” Mugabe said. “Our own regional organisations know the truth about Zimbabwe.”
The attack came barely a week after the IMF released a damning report on Zimbabwe’s economic situation. It raised grave concern over Zimbabwe’s “sharp economic decline”.
The report blasted Zimbabwe for not putting concrete measures in place to curb the economic slide. It said the current confusion surrounding land reform was a threat to property rights and eroded investor confidence.
“More broadly, staff stressed the importance of addressing the issue of property rights in a way that would resolve investor confidence including observing commitments under bilateral agreements,” the report said.
It said Zimbabwe needed sound economic policies, strengthening of the rule of law, addressing governance issues and reducing corruption if it was to restore international support.