President Mnangagwa leaves for State visit, AfDB Summit in Egypt President Mnangagwa has left the country for the United Arab Republic of Egypt at the invitation of his counterpart, President Adbel Fattah El-Sisi for a State visit that coincides with the crucial African Development Bank (AfDB) Summit – at Sharm el-Sheik resort – where he is expected to engage representatives of creditor nations :- Pictures by Joseph Manditswara

Hebert Zharare

President Mnangagwa has left the country for the United Arab Republic of Egypt at the invitation of his counterpart, President Adbel Fattah El-Sisi for a State visit that coincides with the crucial African Development Bank (AfDB) Summit – at Sharm el-Sheik resort – where he is expected to engage representatives of creditor nations as Zimbabwe forges ahead with her scheduled highly promising arrears clearance and national debt resolution.

The indabas comprise the 58th annual assembly of the AfDB Group and the 49th meeting of the African Development Fund—the continental financial institution’s concessional funding window for low-income countries.

The Summit runs from today (Monday) to Friday. This year’s AfDB meetings will run under the theme “Mobilising Private Sector Financing for Climate and Green Growth in Africa”. The crucial AfDB meeting comes after Zimbabwe successfully convened the Fourth Structured Dialogue Platform on arrears clearance and debt resolution process in Harare last Monday.

The meeting was attended by President Mnangagwa, arrears clearance and debt resolution champion and AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina and former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano who is also facilitator of the high-level dialogue.

Presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba in an interview on Sunday said: “This is a double-barreled event. His Excellency the President was given a special invitation to Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt) by his colleague, President Adbel Fattah El-Sisi. This is hard on the heels of excellent bilateral relations between Egypt and Zimbabwe, fortified by trade between the two countries.

“t is also an invite that is timely in the sense that it coincides with the meeting of the African Development Bank, which incidentally has decided to set aside some time for an exclusive focus on the Zimbabwean economy with specific reference to the arrears clearance and debt resolution initiatives as you are aware our arrears clearance and debt resolutions effort has enlisted the involvement of two champions, namely Dr Adesina who is himself the president of AfDB and former President Joaquim Chissano.”

The Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the AfDB Group penned a memorandum of understanding for the hosting of the 2023 annual meetings in September last year. Egypt is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa with the World Bank putting its Gross Domestic Product at US$404,14 billion in 2021.

The annual meetings of the AfDB are the group’s topmost statutory events that provide the stage for its boards of governors and management to review the organisation’s activities over the previous year.

The 2023 meetings will also provide an opportunity for leaders to take stock of Africa’s response to the growing threat posed by climate change and the impact of the situation in Ukraine on Africa’s food security situation and its untapped natural resources, according to the AfDB website.

Writing in his weekly column in The Sunday Mail last week, President Mnangagwa said last Monday’s high-level meeting on Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution, laid firm groundwork for the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting.

Said President Mnangagwa; “For that reason, it is vitally important that I engage representatives of creditor nations and institutions in Sharm el-Sheikh during the forthcoming visit. Such engagement will send positive signals to all our economic players here at home, and to most of our development partners.”

“Zimbabweans will recall that I invited the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and former President of Mozambique, His Excellency Joaquim Chissano, to become champions for Zimbabwe arrears clearance and national debt resolution. A couple of preparatory meetings have since been held, creating three sub-committees covering key areas of donor concern, including broad reforms and the compensation of white farmers displaced by our needful Land Reform Programme, in terms of our law.”

Zimbabwe has concluded a fourth Structured Dialogue Platform meeting on arrears clearance and debt resolution with creditors and development partners.

Said Mr Charamba: Several meetings have been held in Zimbabwe to at least try and consolidate our initiative on arrears clearance and debt resolution. Some four sub-committees have been created to feed into this arrears clearance and debt resolution process. They comprise Economic Reforms, Governance Reforms, and Compensation of white former commercial farmers in terms of our law. This means compensating them for the developments on the land as well as Resolution of BIPPAs (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements) affected properties.

“So all those subcommittees have now collated their thoughts and findings as well as recommendations so that those four feed into the whole process in relations to creditor nations and development partners. The last such meeting was held just a week ago at Wild Geese (Harare). It was very interesting to hear the champions sharing their feedback with the President.

“They indicated that there is an overwhelming unanimity among the creditors that Zimbabwe’s initiative is well thought out and should receive total support. Surprisingly even Americans have started warming up to this initiative. This is why the Sharm el-Sheikh is so crucial for us.”

Government and development partners met on 11 May, to review three draft policy reform matrices prepared by Sector Working Groups (SWGS) on economic, governance and land tenure reforms and also looked at compensation of former farm owners and the resolution of BIPPAs.

President Mnangagwa appointed Dr Adesina as arrears clearance and debt resolution champion in July 2022.

In December 2022 the Government established a Structured Dialogue Platform with all creditors and development partners in order to institutionalise structured dialogue in economic and government reforms to underpin the arrears clearance and debt resolution process.

Zimbabwe’s total consolidated debt stands at $17,5 billion. Debt owed to international creditors stands at $14,04 billion, while domestic debt stands at $3,4 billion. Debt owed to bilateral creditors is estimated at $5,75 billion, while debt to multilateral creditors is estimated at $2,5 billion.

President was accompanied by senior Government officials and cabinet ministers among them Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, Joram Gumbo, and Mr Charamba. He was seen off by VP Chiwenga and several Government officials

Meanwhile, VP Chiwenga is the Acting President.

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