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World Bank to send assessment team to Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The World Bank (WB) will soon send a team to Zimbabwe to conduct a needs assessment exercise in preparation for possible new funding for the country, the state-run Business Weekly reported Friday.

This came after Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday met with WB chief executive Kristalina Georgieva on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos where he indicated Zimbabwe’s resolve to clear arrears with the multilateral institution.

Zimbabwe owes the WB 1.15 billion U.S. dollars and has not been receiving concessionary loans from the multilateral financial institution since 2001 when it started defaulting.

“We have agreed that the World Bank is going to send a mission to conclude discussions on our needs assessment for post arrears clearance resource mobilization and support,” the financial paper quoted Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying.

“We agreed that we will undertake a needs assessment of our country and set out the priorities, and this is the report we can then take to the World Bank; have it coasted, and then submit it to them so that soon after clearance of arrears we are able to access concessionary funding,” he added.

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe, which recently cleared its 108 million arrears to the International Monetary Fund, had already mobilized resources to clear the WB debt and unlock fresh funding from the bank.

The country also owes the African Development Bank 601 million dollars and over 3 billion dollars to the Paris Club, among its creditors.

Chinamasa, according to the newspaper, said the WB team would identify priority projects that are long and short term, adding that Zimbabwe wanted a holistic approach which involved a needs assessment, arrears clearance and access to fresh funding.

“So it’s very difficult always to put a time frame, because when you are dealing with institutions it is not always easy to be definitive about timeframes,” the minister said.



Zimbabwe slashes diamond ground rental fees

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government has drastically reduced annual ground rental fees for diamonds from 3,000 U.S. dollars to 225 dollars as it seeks more investment into the diamond sector.

A statement released to media Friday said the reduction was in line with the government’s thrust on ease of doing business.

“This has been done in the context of ease of doing business to facilitate investment in the diamond mining industry,” the statement said.

However, miners will be required to pay more in respect of mining blocks with the government currently reviewing the fees and a statement on the new fee structure would be issued within 30 days, the statement said.


Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa reiterates commitment to African Union

Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in his first appearance to the African Union (AU) as president on Saturday reiterated Zimbabwe’s full commitment to the pan-African block.

Mnangagwa, who commended Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe as “a true pan-Africanist,” also called on AU and its member states for strengthened socioeconomic partnership.

Mnangagwa made the remarks during the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s (NEPAD) meeting held on the sidelines of the 30th African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

“Zimbabwe proudly belongs to this big and happy family, the AU, and it pledges its commitment and readiness to remain fully engaged in all activities of the continent,” he stressed.

Mnangagwa further indicated his government’s readiness to work together with African countries through bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

“My government has introduced new economic policies designed to resuscitate the economy by attracting local and foreign direct investment into our country as well as promoting trade and tourism,” he said.

“Our message for our friends and partners in Africa and beyond is that Zimbabwe is open for business,” Mnangagwa added.

He also noted the new administration’s aspirations to reengage with Zimbabwe’s partners “with a view to addressing past misunderstandings.”

Mnangagwa further called on the AU and NEPAD to help the realization of the southern African country’s ambitions in all endeavors.

With regard to Mugabe, Mnangagwa said that the former president is “very fine and well taken care of by the new dispensation.”

“The preservation of his legacy, which we are very proud of, is of paramount importance for us as a nation,” he said.

“Now that President Mugabe has joined the unique club of elder statesmen of our continent, it is my hope that Zimbabwe and the continent at large will continue to draw from his deep reservoir of wisdom and experience as we endeavor to achieve goals we set for our regional vision: Agenda 2063,” Mnangagwa said.



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