AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina yesterday said he was confident that Zimbabwe will clear its arrears as talks to set up a comprehensive debt clearance plan for the country have begun.
A bullish Adesina, who is in the country to discuss potential areas of technical support that AfDB would provide to the Zimbabwean government, said the country was on track to clearing its arrears.
He held several meetings with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, development partners and the private sector. Adesina also met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.
“I am very confident that this will work. Zimbabwe cannot proceed with a heavy backpack. It definitely needs to clear off its arrears by coming up with a roadmap to arrears clearance. This will enable it to move forward in addressing its economic challenges,” he told journalists yesterday.
Adesina accepted a request in February by the Zimbabwean government to serve as the country’s debt resolution champion among international financial institutions and bilateral creditors.
Zimbabwe is the only regional member country of AfDB currently under sanctions from the bank and other multilateral financial institutions because of debt arrears amounting to over US$2,6 billion.
“It is clear that the President (Mnangagwa) is highly committed to that process. It is clear that the President is also committed to engaging the international community and I told the President that in my role as the president of the AfDB, I will help,” he said.
Adesina added that he believed it was time to reinvigorate and re-dynamise the economy because it is critical for the Southern African Development Community.
Asked on timelines, he said: “For everything under the sun, there is a time and a season, so we will get there.”
Ncube, who also addressed journalists, said the clearance of arrears would be of huge benefit because it would help turnaround the economy and improve the standard of living of the country’s citizens.