By Bernard Mpofu, HARARE, June 10 (The Source) – A delegation of the World Bank group’s private sector lending arm will arrive in Zimbabwe on Wednesday evening for a series of meetings with government, business leaders and the bankers association, as the country seeks long-term, inexpensive funding for its undercapitalised firms, The Source has established.
Sources close to the developments said International Finance Corporation director Cheik Oumar Seydi and senior manager Saleem Karimjee will meet finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in Harare before meeting business leaders and bankers to explore funding opportunities.
Zimbabwe’s government, which has an estimated $10 billion debt is, currently unable to access loans from multilateral finance institutions (MFIs) such as the World Bank and the International Monetary FundIMF due to arrears.
“The mission will be in the country between June 10 and 12. They will meet with business leaders and identify sectors where the IFC can extend funding to,” a source who declined to be identified as he is not authorised to speak for the delegation, said.
Half of Zimbabwe’s $10 billion external debt is in arrears and the country has not received financial support from MFIs such as the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank since 1999.
Zimbabwe has since June 2013, however, undertaken an IMF staff monitored programme (SMP), an informal and flexible instrument for dialogue between the Fund staff and a member country on its economic policies. The SMP does not entail funding support.
However, implementation of the SMP has been mixed, with government struggling to rein in its wage bill which currently gobbles up as much as two-thirds of its total revenue– a key aspect of the programme.