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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Parents of Disaster Ferry Passengers Lash Out at Authorities

Twenty-nine bodies recovered from water but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

US congressional delegation initiates $84 million Agent Orange cleanup project More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid