Conrad Mwanawashe – Business Reporter
THE International Monetary Fund Mission, which arrives in the country today, will interact with Government and the business community at a round table discussion scheduled for early next month during the delegation’s three-week assessment of the country’s Staff Monitored Programme
The IMF Mission, headed by Mr Domenico Fanizza will be in the country until March 11 for the third and final review under the Staff Monitored Programme and the annual Article IV Consultations.
During the three-week sojourn, the Mission is expected to meet Government officials, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders while a stakeholder’s conference is being planned.
“We are in the process of organising a Round Table discussion on March 10,” said IMF resident representative Mr Christian Beddies.
Meeting all the quantitative and qualitative targets under the second SMP will give the country impetus to efforts for the normalisation of relations with multilateral creditors.
Economists regard the success under the SMP as an important development in posing Zimbabwe as ready to receive development partners’ support.
More importantly, they see this as a critical tenet for Zimbabwe to start benefiting from its membership with the Bretton Woods institutions.
Government is in need of fresh capital injection to kick start the economy which has faced a number of structural challenges since it was disconnected from international capital in the last decade.
The years of being in the financial wilderness has caused structural challenges for the country that include failure to maintain and invest in infrastructure, failure to support the SMEs sector which has become the cornerstone of the economy since the collapse of the “big industries”.
It has also exposed Government and local industry to expensive capital since they could not access affordable finance from multilateral and bilateral creditors.
However, the isolation of Zimbabwe is expected to ease following the adoption of the country’s arrears clearance strategy by the international financial institutions late last year.
Under the SMP, Zimbabwe is on track to meet the targets but a final analysis of the will be done when an IMF Mission concludes the third and final review under the programme.
An SMP is an informal agreement between IMF member countries and Fund staff to monitor the implementation of the economic programme.
Last month Mr Beddies told The Herald Business that based on preliminary information and preliminary data pointed to Zimbabwe meeting the targets.
The Mission will be in the country for two objectives; firstly to do the third and final review under the SMP which expired on December 31, 2015 and secondly to do the annual Article IV Consultations.
The Article IV Consultations is an exercise the IMF carries with all its member countries which is looking at the economic challenges for medium-term perspective; where does the country want to be; how the IMF believes the country could get there and how do the authorities believe they could get there.