Zimbabwe is grateful to development partners and creditors for embracing the resolution process of arrears clearance and debt, and hopes that if debts are rescheduled or written off, the economy will grow exponentially.
Already, Zimbabwe’s economy is growing at about 5 percent per year, driven largely by agriculture and mining sectors.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC Africa last week during his visit to Egypt for the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB), President Mnangagwa said since 2018, the Second Republic has thrust the economy on a massive growth trajectory, and is probably the fastest growing economy in SADC, despite the heavyweight of sanctions imposed by the West 23 years ago.
“We have had sanctions in the last 23 years and in those 23 years, Zimbabwe has not received any external credit,” he said.
“In the process, as you are aware, our economy collapsed, our currency collapsed, but upon the coming in of the Second Republic, we have recovered from the collapse and our economy is now on a growth trajectory.”
President Mnangagwa said while other African countries had their loans written off or rescheduled by multilateral financial institutions, Zimbabwe has been unable to benefit from such dispensations and continues to feel the impact of sanctions.
“So, we felt there must be some way of dealing with this growing debt, as a result of it just accumulating, as we never received any foreign credit. This debt is from the past and continues to grow.
“Under the Second Republic, we have begun making token payments to liquidate the debt and we have formulated this process where president of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina has accepted this process, together with the great son of Africa former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano.
“We are happy that debt resolution and arrears clearance has been received very well both in Europe and America. They had a chance to travel to America and they were received and the response was very positive,” said the President.
So far, five structured dialogue platform meetings had been held, as Zimbabwe continues to engage creditors and development partners to resolve the debt and arrears situation
Zimbabwe’s total debt stands at US$17,5 billion, but following the launch of the debt and arrears resolution process, President Mnangagwa said “global cooperation is with us”.
He said as the debt and arrears process roll on, the Government continues to explore ways of developing the economy.
“Everybody sees that Zimbabwe is on a growth trajectory. If you are aware, in SADC, our economy has been growing in the past three years by about 5 percent every year.
“With sanctions, everybody knows we are growing faster, so, it is critically important that we come back into the fold of the comity of nations and work together,” said the President.
The output of the mining sector, he said, had risen from US$2,7 billion in 2017, to generating over US$6 billion last year.
Zimbabwe has set a target of turning the mining sector into a US$12 billion industry by the end of this year.
“We are growing without technology, we are growing without capital, we are growing without skills.
“With lithium coming up, we will be high up. Zimbabwe is open for business, but not for abuse.
“We have grown under sanctions, which were intended to kill us and investors will now come to Zimbabwe knowing that we are the owners of the resources and these resources have to benefit our people,” he said.
Zimbabwe has instituted a number of economic reforms aimed at making global capital comfortable, said President Mnangagwa.
He said efforts will continue to be made for Zimbabwe to be more competitive.
Infrastructure such as roads and airports will also be modernised to improve the ease of doing business environment.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa’s administration has walked back previous indications that the election date would be proclaimed yesterday, creating uncertainty as Zimbabweans await crucial details on the timing of upcoming polls.
After local media reported that the President would announce the election date on Monday as the electoral process moves forward, presidential spokesperson George Charamba stated cryptically that “The election proclamation is going to be announced in due course.”
The sudden change from promising an imminent announcement to an unspecified future proclamation has left many questions about when Zimbabweans will go to the polls and under what conditions. Charamba offered no clear explanation for the last-minute delay or any specifics on the new expected timing.
The ruling Zanu-PF party had completed its candidate selection through primaries, while the opposition CCC was still finalising nominations. Both sides appeared to be gearing up for elections in the coming months based on earlier signals from the President’s administration.
However, President Mnangagwa’s failure so far to provide a concrete timeline for announcing the election date – after getting Zimbabweans’ hopes up with reports of a Monday proclamation – has injected fresh uncertainty into the electoral process. Zimbabweans now anxiously await further clarity from their leaders, hoping to regain confidence in the transparency and credibility of the democratic process.