World Bank to send assessment team to Zimbabwe soon: Chinamasa

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa

HARARE, (Xinhua) — The World Bank (WB) will soon send a team to Zimbabwe to conduct a needs assessment exercise in preparation for possible new funding for the country, the state-run Business Weekly reported Friday.

This came after Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday met with WB chief executive Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos where he indicated Zimbabwe’s resolve to clear arrears with the multilateral institution.

Zimbabwe owes the WB 1.15 billion U.S. dollars and has not been receiving concessionary loans from the multilateral financial institution since 2001 when it started defaulting.

“We have agreed that the World Bank is going to send a mission to conclude discussions on our needs assessment for post arrears clearance resource mobilization and support,” the financial paper quoted Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying.

“We agreed that we will undertake a needs assessment of our country and set out the priorities, and this is the report we can then take to the World Bank; have it coasted, and then submit it to them so that soon after clearance of arrears we are able to access concessionary funding,” he added.

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe, which recently cleared its 108 million arrears to the International Monetary Fund, had already mobilized resources to clear the WB debt and unlock fresh funding from the bank.

The country also owes the African Development Bank 601 million dollars and over 3 billion dollars to the Paris Club, among its creditors.

Chinamasa, according to the newspaper, said the WB team would identify priority projects that are long and short term, adding that Zimbabwe wanted a holistic approach which involved a needs assessment, arrears clearance and access to fresh funding.

“So it’s very difficult always to put a time frame, because when you are dealing with institutions it is not always easy to be definitive about timeframes,” the minister said.