From Kuda Bwititi in YOKOHAMA, Japan
President Mnangagwa yesterday negotiated a fresh financial package for Zimbabwe from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) after meeting the bank’s president, Professor Benedict Okey Oramah.
The President met Prof Oramah on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) underway here.
Speaking to Zimbabwean journalists after his meeting with the President, Prof Oramah said Afreximbank had agreed in principle to provide Zimbabwe with a financial injection for emergency food imports as well as a separate kitty for infrastructure development.
“Those are the kinds of things we discussed (financial package) especially to be able to support food imports and also to enable the development of certain infrastructure, including irrigation that will help manage the weather crises in the future,” Prof Oramah.
Asked on the amount of money that Afreximbank will assist Zimbabwe with, Prof Oramah said: “We are still working out the details, so they will also go back and present us the actual requirements.
“We have a product that we call the food emergency contingency financing facility which we make available to African countries to enable them to manage weather uncertainties. This is the product we are expecting to be made available to Zimbabwe.”
Prof Oramah said in addition to food imports and infrastructure development, the continental trade finance organisation will avail another kitty to Zimbabwe for the country’s industries.
“We also discussed elements of supporting infrastructure, including irrigation. Those are going to be worked out.
“There is also manufacturing which His Excellency said the Government would like to promote to grow their industries,” he said.
“There was a facility we used to have with Zimbabwe which was to the amount of US$300 million, which has expired, so the Government has asked if we can look at it again and make it available.”
He said following his audience with President Mnangagwa, follow-up engagements will be made with Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya.
“We have agreed that we will be meeting with the Minister of Finance for further discussions and also with the Governor of the Reserve of Bank to look at the elements of intervention that will come to Zimbabwe,” he said.
Discussions between President Mnangagwa and Prof Oramah also centred on Zimbabwe’s ongoing economic reforms under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
Prof Oramah said he appreciated Zimbabwe’s efforts in restructuring its economy.
“We had a lot to talk about. We reviewed the collaboration and reforms going on in Zimbabwe in the areas of fiscal reforms and the monetary policy and also the exchange reforms that are going on. We also reviewed our plans for the future of the country,” he said.
Afreximbank has assisted Zimbabwe with several financial packages for its economic recovery and enjoys sound relations with Harare.
Zimbabwe is a shareholder of Afreximbank and therefore enjoys benefits from the continental trade finance institution.