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AfDB Praises Zim Recovery Plan

ZIMBABWE has made an impressive start on an economic recovery plan which warrants support from the international community, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka said Thursday.

He told reporters on the sidelines of a summit of southern African finance ministers in Cape Town that the AfDB was prepared to set up a donor meeting for Zimbabwe, but its $5bn foreign debt needed to be cleared to secure more aid.

“It will require that Zimbabwe comes forward with a credible economic programme. Now the first steps I have seen, listening to (Zimbabwean Finance) minister Tendai Biti, is quite impressive and it merits support,” Kaberuka said.

The new administration urgently needs to tackle an economic meltdown that has led to the world’s worst hyperinflation, food shortages and a cholera epidemic.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said last week it would cost as much as $5billion to repair the economy.
Zimbabwe’s unity government will be depend heavily on foreign aid to ease the decade-old economic crisis.

But Western donors say money will be provided only when a democratic government is created and economic reforms implemented.

Kaberuka called on Zimbabwe to meet its external debt repayments to the Paris Club of government lenders, international finance institutions and other creditors to secure more financial help.

“Now that can done fairly quickly. It’s complex but it’s not undoable,” Kaberuka said.

John Robertson, a leading private economic consultant in Harare, said donors should take charge and drive policy reforms and then base aid flows on government compliance.

“It’s some kind of vicious circle. The economy is in doldrums and cannot contribute to any debt repayments until it gets off the ground, and it cannot get off the ground without some massive outside help,” he said.

REUTERS

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