Harare – The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday received grants worth $53.4 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and western donors under the Zimbabwe Multi-donor Trust Fund (Zim-Fund) to help the country’s economic recovery efforts.
The six grants cover the areas of power and infrastructure rehabilitation, $20 million; water and sanitation, $19.8 million; governance, $8 million; youth and tourism $4.1 million and transport $1.3 million.
Cash-strapped Zimbabwe, which last year presented a $4.1 billion budget for 2014, has been struggling to finance infrastructure projects in the face of falling revenues as the economy continues to slow down.
“The grants will go a long away in meeting the requirements of our economic blue print, the ZimAsset,” said finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa,at the signing ceremony.
Of the six, three projects worth $39.9 million are funded by the ZimFund supported by Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom while the rest are funded by AfDB to the tune of $13.5million.
A group of western donors set up Zim-Fund, which is managed by the AfDB in 2010 in a bid to support the then unity government’s economic recovery efforts. The fund focuses on infrastructure projects, mostly water, sanitation and energy.
Western governments imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party over 10 years ago in response to alleged poll fraud and human rights violations, but relations started thawing in 2009 after Mugabe formed a power-sharing government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The veteran ruler, however, regained complete control when he won yet another election disputed by his opposition rivals in July 2013.
The World Bank has said Zimbabwe requires at least $14 billion, almost the same as the country’s nominal GDP, investment to rehabilitate its crumbling infrastructure.
AfDB resident representative, Mateus Magala said the projects were aligned to the government’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (ZimAsset) economic blueprint and consistent with the bank’s ten year strategy aimed at placing the bank at the centre of Africa’s transformation.
“They will support the country’s recovery efforts and its quest to address critical challenges of promoting strong and inclusive growth that promotes a prosperous and equitable society,” he said.
Magala said the bank would continue to work with donors and government to address the debt situation to ensure that more resources are mobilised for the development of the country.
The projects will increase the bank’s support to Zimbabwe to date to $166 million from $113.5 million.
Last year government received a grant worth $23.7 million from AfDB aimed at strengthening the capacity of key institutions involved in public financial and economic management as well as in monitoring implementation of ZimAsset.
– The Source