( AfDB) - Zimbabwe has concluded a fourth Structured Dialogue Platform meeting on debt clearance with creditors and development partners.
Government and development partners met Thursday 11 May, to review three draft policy reform matrices prepared by sector working groups on economic, governance and land tenure reforms. They also looked at compensation of former farm owners, and the resolution of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs).
In welcome remarks, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube assured the participants of the country's “full commitment and ownership to the process,” including the implementation of policy reforms.
In December 2022, the Zimbabwean government established a Structured Dialogue Platform with all creditors and development partners, to institutionalize structured dialogue on economic and governance reforms to underpin the arrears clearance and debt resolution process.
Alexis Ferrand, Economics Advisor to the Government on Arrears Clearance, outlined the Economics Reforms Matrix's long-term and short-to-medium-term strategies, which will enable sustained inclusive economic growth, increased investment opportunities, and job creation.
The Matrix is centered on enhancing service delivery, public sector transparency and accountability, combating corruption and promoting human rights. It also covers electoral reforms, national unity, peace, and reconciliation. It was presented by Virginia Mabiza, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
Ncube encouraged stakeholders to continue with "constructive and candid dialogue, which is critical to building mutual trust and confidence, needed for the success of the arrears clearance and debt resolution process."
Zimbabwe’s debt clearance process is being championed by African Development Bank President Dr. Akinumwi Adesina and former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, who has been designated as High-Level Facilitator. Both are expected in the country for a High-Level Debt Resolution Forum on 15 May 2023, led by Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
President Mnangagwa appointed Adesina as a champion in July 2022. The forum will focus on progress updates on the three policy reform matrices, presentation of the way forward and a tentative roadmap.
Zimbabwe’s total consolidated debt stands at $17.5 billion. Debt owed to international creditors stands at $14.04 billion, while domestic debt stands at $3.4 billion. Debt owed to bilateral creditors is estimated at $5.75 billion, while debt to multilateral creditors is estimated at $2.5 billion. The country is in arrears for servicing its debt, with arrears to multilateral development banks, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank.
The fourth structured dialogue platform meetings come on the heels of previous ones held in December 2022, and in February and March 2023. The dialogue meetings are expected to continue after elections due in August this year.