Session on Zim debt, arrears was incredible: Adesina African Development Bank of Zimbabwe (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina

Africa Moyo in SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt

The round-table discussion held to update development partners and creditors about the path taken by Zimbabwe to resolve its arrears and debt situation, was incredible, African Development Bank of Zimbabwe (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said yesterday.

He was speaking during the last media conference, marking the end of the 2023 annual meetings.

The round-table meeting brought together many representatives of Zimbabwe’s development partners and creditor nations such as the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), Switzerland, the United States, SADC and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa), among others.

President Mnangagwa made his presentation, in which he said Zimbabwe remained determined to settle its debt, from a long time ago, which has been accruing arrears every year.

Creditor nations and development partners said they were happy with Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance and debt resolution process, which is being championed by Dr Adesina, with the help of former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano, who is the high-level facilitator.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Dr Adesina said he was happy with the engagement held with creditors and development partners.

“We were happy with the session on Zimbabwe. It was incredible and we got a sense of collective action, to throw our hands around Zimbabwe,” he said.

“There is still a lot to be done; economic, governance, money issues. But there is an agreement that we should work together and get solutions to help Zimbabwe out of the sanctions situation.”

The Zimbabwe delegation left with a similar view, that its plan had been embraced, and that more efforts have to be invested in the process for it to succeed.

One of the 16 indicators, ticked as crucial to the success of the Structured Dialogue Platform aimed at addressing Zimbabwe’s debt and arrears situation, is the conducting of free, fair, credible and violence-free elections.

Zimbabwe goes to the polls in August this year, and President Mnangagwa assured delegates during the round-table meeting that his Government had put in place measures to ensure a credible election would be delivered.

Just before the media conference, Dr Adesina had officiated at the closing ceremony of the annual meetings.

The AfDB team was asked to play a video showing some of the highlights of the conference, and the video where President Mnangagwa held hands with Dr Adesina, President Chissano and Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube during the round-table meeting was shown.

President Mnangagwa’s entry into the venue for the opening ceremony on Tuesday was also shown.

In his address during the closing ceremony, Dr Adesina described this year’s annual meetings as having been “a great success”, from an organisational perspective to the quality of deliberations held.

He said the AfDB will continue to play a key role in transforming the African continent by way of mobilising private sector funds to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

He said they will continue investing in electricity, especially renewable energy, so that industries continue to operate while citizens have lighting.

Gas will also be tapped so that the continent can use it for cooking and lighting.

Dr Adesina said the AfDB will also continue to support farmers and women, who got US$1,1 billion last year to finance their enterprises.

Pensions funds would be engaged so they deploy their funds into infrastructure development while the bank will also pace up its plans to start producing vaccines and other drugs on the continent.

In a communiqué released at the end of the annual meetings, the governors representing member countries of the AfDB and State participants of the African Development Fund, said they “deeply appreciate” the presence of Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President Azali Assoumani of the Union of the Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union; President Mnangagwa, Tanzania Vice President Philip Mpango who was representing his President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Rwanda Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente who was representing President Paul Kagame.

They also saluted Burundi Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca who was representing President Evariste Ndayishimiye, Somalia Prime Minister Hamse Abdi Barre representing Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, among others.

The annual meetings ran under the theme, “Mobilising Private Sector Financing for Climate and Green Growth in Africa”.

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