Economic Updates - Featured - Top Stories - March 8, 2021

IMF heads for Zimbabwe

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team is set to come to Zimbabwe within the next three months to revive the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP), Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube has said.

The Treasury boss said the IMF’s visit is part of a broader international re-engagement drive announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2017, as he made first steps towards reintegration into the global community.

Harare’s programme is expected to rebuild broken ties and cultivate new friendships in Europe and the United States of America.

With debts escalating, Zimbabwe was shut out of the global financial system, prompting an economic crisis that ended with the collapse of the domestic currency in 2008 and gross domestic product falling by 50% in a decade.

Ncube said forging ties with the IMF, topped his agenda.

“To kick start the engagement process, an IMF Staff Visit Mission is expected in the second quarter, followed by an Article IV Mission in the third quarter,” Ncube said.

“All things being equal an SMP should be concluded in early 2022. The government has already made significant progress in stabilising the economy through the various economic reforms implemented under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).  The implementation of these critical reforms will be further strengthened during the NDS1 (National Development Strategy 1) period,” Ncube said.

However, SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF’s executive board.

Ncube said the re-engagement programme was part of key targets under NDS 1, where the government has undertaken to clear debts of up to US$8 billion to various lenders including the Paris Club, the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

About 70% of these debts were in arrears at the end of 2020.

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