News / Africa

External Debt Choking Zimbabwe’s Economic Recovery

A general view of the East Gate Mall building, located on the corner of Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma roads in Harare central business district (CBD), January 3, 2012.
A general view of the East Gate Mall building, located on the corner of Robert Mugabe and Sam Nujoma roads in Harare central business district (CBD), January 3, 2012.
Three years after the formation of Zimbabwe's coalition government, the country's economy is still trying to recover. 

Cars have now returned to the streets of Harare and almost all shops are fully stocked.  This was not the case prior to the formation of Zimbabwe’s coalition government in 2009.  Streets were empty, so were shops.  Everything was in short supply.  It is more than three years down the line.  Things have changed for the better.

But the country imports most of its products including bottled drinking water as industries are still struggling.  Willard Manungo, the Ministry of Finance's permanent secretary, says Zimbabwe's huge external debt is the major hurdle.

"African Development Bank is a major, major player but when it comes to Zimbabwe, because we are in arrears, we become automatically ineligible to borrow from African Development Bank," he said.  "The same situation with World Bank and other major cooperating partners.  So the issue of arrears is limiting the capacity of some of the cooperating partners to cooperating with us.”

Zimbabwe’s external debt is now more than $10 billion and for more than a decade now the country has been in default resulting in major international lenders shunning the African country.  The African Development Bank is owed more than $500 million.

Earlier this week the Zimbabwe finance minister said he was in talks with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to retire Zimbabwe’s debt.  Manungo says the suspension of development aid to Zimbabwe was affecting the country's recovery.

"If you look at [the] number of development areas that we would want to go into in Zimbabwe - energy, infrastructure, water - I think those are all areas where if development assistance was as it was in the past, Zimbabwe would be seeing major support.  So the scaling of global development financial flows is also having a major impact on Zimbabwe," he said.

Most Western nations such as the U.S., Germany and Britain suspended development assistance to Zimbabwe in 2002 after President Robert Mugabe’s government was accused of disregarding human rights and suppressing the opposition then led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.  The two are now in a power-sharing government but are tied up in quarrels about the drafting of a new constitution, which Tsvangirai's party says is needed to have a free and fair national election.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs