Wednesday, 29 June 2016

CHINAMASA SEEKS WESTERN AID AS MUGABE TELLS THEM TO GO HANG

A few weeks after President Robert Mugabe told Western countries to “go hang”, Zimbabwe’s Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa will this week lead a delegation to Europe for meetings with global multi-lateral lending institutions.

Chinamasa will engage the country’s creditors as Zimbabwe inches closer to a historic debt rescheduling, and will head to the United Kingdom in early July where he is scheduled to address the Africa Confidential conference dubbed: Zimbabwe: Rebooting and Rebuilding on July 5.

Mugabe, whose regime has struggled to stabilise the country’s tottering economy, but maintained a firm grip on power by foul means, told thousands of his Zanu PF party supporters that his government did not need any aid.

But according to the organisers of the London conference, Chinamasa will be accompanied by a senior delegation “including Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya, ministers of Trade and Commerce (Mike Bimha) and Mining (Walter Chidakwa)”, among other officials.

“The government is to finalise its agreement to repay some $1,8 billion of arrears to multilateral financial institutions triggering its re-entry into the international financial system after almost two decades in the cold,” the organisers said.

Chinamasa confirmed his Europe sojourn, but could not be drawn into providing details of the discussions and decisions that lie ahead.

“Its about meeting some French businesspeople and organisations as well as that country’s Finance minister for discussions on their interests that they have shown in Zimbabwe. I will also go to Brussels as well as the UK,” Chinamasa said.

Asked if he will be meeting Paris Club creditors to discuss Zimbabwe’s debt, Chinamasa was non-committal.

“We will discuss a broad range of issues, investment opportunities and explain where we are with our debt arrears and soliciting for their support,” Chinamasa added.

Mugabe’s relations with the West have hit the rocks since his government embarked on an exercise to redistribute land meant to correct colonial land imbalances, but which turned into an orgy of violence and plunder.

The 92 year-old leader has also been accused of rights abuses and electoral theft since the turn of the century leading to travel restrictions on his family and inner circle. The news comes as Zimbabweans continue to struggle with chronic cash shortages especially of the US dollar, the main denomination in the country’s multi-currency financial system. Government has had to stagger payments of salaries to civil servants as the economic problems continue unabated. newsday

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