News / Africa

IMF Unhappy with Zimbabwe Policies

A subsistence farmer stacks her crop of maize in Chivi, southeast of the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, April 1, 2012.
A subsistence farmer stacks her crop of maize in Chivi, southeast of the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, April 1, 2012.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Zimbabwe's large debt remains a serious impediment to the country's financial future. Ruling out retiring Zimbabwe's $10 billion debt, which is what the country's finance minister had hoped for, the IMF report released late Tuesday said Zimbabwe's economy would slow down this year after two years of high growth. Economic analysts said unless the country’s agriculture gets back on track, Zimbabwe’s economy will not stabilize.

The IMF report said Zimbabwe’s high growth rate would slow down to five percent this year because of poor harvests and concerns about upcoming elections that will end the country’s three-year-old fragile coalition government.

The IMF predicted annual growth slowing to about four percent in the years immediately ahead.

Zimbabwe's economy had grown at a 9.6 percent rate in 2010 and a 9.4 percent rate in 2011.

The IMF report

John Robertson from Robertson Economic Information Services sums up the IMF report which said the country's huge debt remains a serious problem.

“The IMF is trying to promote us or prompt us to makes changes," said Robertson. "They do suggest that they want to see changes before they become more generous with their assistance. And they will not be supporting much in the way of assistance to the country until they see change.”

Ahead of the IMF report, Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti was hopeful the institution would be lenient on the African country.
 
“We believe that our macro-economic fundamentals are sound, and that there is no reason at all why a positive decision would not be made in our favor," said Biti. "The importance of that IMF decision is that it will enable us to deal with the key issues of arrears that are the hindrance, [as] are sanctions, against Zimbabwe accessing huge levels of capital finance at the World Bank and the African Development [Bank].”

The IMF said Zimbabwe’s debt now stands at about $10.7 billion.

Recently, Zimbabwe's government refused to adopt the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) status, which would have resulted in the country mortgaging its mineral resources against its huge debt.

Zimbabwe’s agricultural-based economy took a nosedive in early 2000 when the country embarked on a chaotic and sometimes violent land reform exercise targeting white commercial farmers, seizing their farms, and replacing many of them with peasant farmers. After a decade of decline, the economy has improved somewhat since the creation of a unity government in 2009. But Biti has said the recovery will remain weak and precarious until international institutions such as the IMF retire Zimbabwe’s debt.

The IMF and Zimbabwe's debts

Economist Robertson said the finance minister was wrong to expect IMF to be merciful to Zimbabwe.
 
"I think the clemency issue was not in any sense a write-off or a forgiveness of debt. The IMF does not do that," said Robertson. "They can give terms to countries that have clearly adopted policies that show that the repayments will become possible because of the new policies. But Zimbabwe has not presented any policies changes that seem to suggest to the IMF that would lead us to a better position from which to repay our debts."

The IMF said addressing Zimbabwe’s debt required strong macroeconomic policies and urged Harare to stop non-concessional borrowing and selective debt servicing since that complicates reaching an agreement with creditors. Earlier this month the IMF raised concerns over the failure by Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe to honor their commitments to pay their financial debts.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs