World Bank may deny Zimbabwe aid to ‘set example’

THE World Bank may withhold further aid to Zimbabwe to “set an example” over the situation under President Robert Mugabe, its chief Paul Wolfowitz warned.

The World Bank would be allocating its funds “very, very carefully, and in the case of Zimbabwe perhaps not at all,”

he told reporters in Tokyo on the first stop of a regional tour.

“My Africa experts say that with the kind of misgovernment that is taking place in Zimbabwe, it is not clear that development is possible at all.

“For several reasons we have to be very careful about corruption and its effects. We need to set an example. It is a terrible waste of funds if it is diverted into corruption.”

In a report published last week, the World Bank’s sister institution, the International Monetary Fund expressed “deep concern” at the situation in Zimbabwe, with growth crashing, inflation rampant and poverty soaring.

Since 2000, Mugabe’s government has seized some 4 000 white-owned farms and redistributed them to landless blacks under a land reform programme which it says is aimed at redressing colonial injustices.

The IMF and international critics led by the European Union and the United States say the land reforms have served only to leave Zimbabwe’s poor menaced by famine when once the country was a grain exporter.

Zimbabwe has at least found favour with the IMF by making a surprise payment of US$120 million on August 29 as a first installment towards clearing its debts owed to the Washington-based lender. – AFP.

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