Zimbabwe aims to clear $2 billion debt to World Bank within 12 months

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has revealed that the country aims to clear US$2 billion in arrears with the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) in the next 12 months.

Ncube said in an interview with Reuters that its arrears clearance programme has secured the backing of international creditors and donor countries, including the US government.

“My intention is that by this time next year we would have paid off the AfDB and World Bank. All options are on the table, including the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) option debt write-off, or the HIPC-lite or the ad-hoc solutions, with sponsors,” said Ncube.

“For sponsors, we will be talking to the G7 members to see if one or two of them, or all of them, could sponsor us and give us some lines of credit, bridging finance to be able to clear those arrears.”

Ncube met international lenders and representatives of the US and British governments in Bali, Indonesia, last week on the sidelines of the annual Internal Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings.

Zimbabwe has struggled to access international credit since defaulting on its debts to global lenders two decades ago and running up arrears of nearly $6 billion. However, Ncube said Zimbabwe would embark on a programme allowing the IMF to monitor its economic reforms from early next year.