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Don’t expect overnight change in economy: Zimbabwe central bank 

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s central bank governor on Wednesday presented his first post-Mugabe monetary policy statement, warning the nation not to expect an overnight change in economic fortunes.

Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe resigned in November last year after 37 years in power, paving way for a new government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Governor John Mangudya said more work was required to grow the economy through opening up for business, increasing export production and intensifying foreign investment attraction.

He said the country would continue to use the multiple currency regime introduced in 2009 until economic fundamentals are right for reintroduction of a local currency.

Meanwhile, the central bank was negotiating a 1.5-billion-U.S.-dollar facility with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to guarantee investors’ funds as well as improve liquidity.

The bank was also arranging a 400-million-dollar facility to finance critical imports and allow investors to repatriate funds, the governor said.

He said in 2017, the forex-starved country drew down 1.1 billion dollars from various nostro stabilization facilities, which helped to stabilize the foreign exchange market and sustain importation of critical imports.

A total of 290 million bond notes was also in circulation as of December 2017, the governor said.

“This is the money that is in the market, together with the 1.1 billion dollars that we borrowed. It may not be as liquid as we want but it is liquid enough to sustain the economy going forward,” Mangudya said.

The governor said he will give an update on the amount of money that has been brought back into the country by companies and individuals that externalized it when the amnesty expires at the end of the February.

“We are encouraged by the overwhelming response by people who are taking measures to comply. The response has been positive from both individuals and corporates,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s government in November issued a three-month amnesty to people and companies that illegally stashed funds abroad, demanding repatriation on a “no questions asked” basis.

Mangudya said the central bank will intensify re-engagement with the international community to resolve the external payment arrears to the remaining International Financial Institutions (IFIs) as well as bilateral creditors.

“In this regard, the government will follow the previously agreed process for clearing external payment arrears to international financial institutions, which was endorsed by the IFIs and Bilateral Creditors at a meeting held on the side lines of the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Lima, Peru, in October 2015,” the governor said.

Zimbabwe owes the World Bank 1.15 billion dollars, 601 million dollars to the African Development Bank and over 3 billion dollars the Paris Club, among other creditors.



Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa confirms opposition-G40 alliance: state media

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Wednesday opposition leader Joice Mujuru and the “G40” faction were in talks to form a coalition party to challenge the ruling Zanu-PF party at polls due in July.

Addressing his first rally since assuming power last November in Mashonaland Central Province, Mnangagwa said he was aware of the plot by Mujuru and the G40, state media New Ziana reported.

“As we speak, the G40 is meeting in Cape Town, the likes of Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo and Mujuru. They are being funded by an American group called the Democratic Institute to fight Zanu PF,” Mnangagwa was quoted as saying.

The president said the ruling party was unfazed by such machinations.

“We will not waste time thinking about their plans; instead we will talk about ways to re-build our country, ways to give our children a better future and ways to ensure that we eliminate hunger in our country,” he was quoted as saying. 


Zimbabwe opposition leader Tsvangirai denies reports he is critically ill

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday denied reports that he is critically ill in a South African hospital receiving cancer treatment.

“I am shocked to read in the press that I am in a critical condition,” Tsvangirai said in a twitter post. “Of course I have cancer and not feeling too well but I am stable and the process is under control.”

“I have been frequently on twitter of late, I am recovering,” he said.

Local media on Tuesday quoted unnamed sources from Tsvangirai’s family as saying that his health deteriorated rapidly on Monday and that he had lost appetite and had difficulty eating and swallowing fluids. He also reportedly had breathing problems.

There werer also reports that the Movement for Democratic Change leader and former prime minister is suffering from weight loss, exhaustion and muscle thinning.

Tsvangirai has been in and out of hospital since he disclosed in 2016 that he has colon cancer.

Last month, Tsvangirai hinted that he may retire from active politics, sparking fresh speculation on his possible successor and future of the opposition in the country.

His illness has also reportedly divided his MDC-T party as senior party members jostle to succeed him.

He has appointed one of his three deputies, Nelson Chamisa, to represent him in the MDC Alliance—a loose coalition of seven opposition political parties that have united to contest against the ruling ZANU-PF party in elections scheduled for mid-2018.

The MDC Alliance has since started election campaigning, with Tsvangirai as its presidential candidate.

A former trade union leader, Tsvangirai once shared power with former president Robert Mugabe in a coalition government between 2009 and 2013.

His party has arguably been the major and biggest opposition party to emerge in post-independence Zimbabwe, posing the stiffest challenge to the rule of Mugabe, who resigned in November 2017 after military and public pressure.



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