EXCLUSIVE: World Bank can only resume financial support to Zimbabwe when arrears are resolved

In a letter to Dr. Patson Dzamara, the World Bank says it'll only resume financial support to Zimbabwe if certain conditions are met.

It’s been close to 2 years since Zimbabwean journalist and activist Itai Dzamara disappeared while protesting against the Zimbabwean government. Recently his brother and fellow activist Dr Patson Dzamara penned a letter to the World Bank in response to allegations the World Bank was planning to loan the Zimbabwean government money to settle an International Monetary Fund debt. Dzamara said the loan would “prop up our oppressor”. 

In a letter to Dr Patson Dzamara, the World Bank has reiterated that it will only resume funding to Zimbabwe when the country had settled its debt to the World Bank.

Read the letter below: 

Dear Dr. Dzamara

Petition to deny Government of Zimbabwe Line of Credit

Thank you for your letter to Dr. Kim received on September 20, 2016. You raise very important concerns about developments in Zimbabwe. The World Bank is committed to work with all of our partner countries, including Zimbabwe, to achieve their long-term development goals. We care deeply about the well-being of the people of Zimbabwe.

Since 2000, when direct lending was suspended on account of payment of arrears, the World Bank has maintained very limited support for Zimbabwe through a variety of non-lending instruments and trust funds. These include the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund which is, inter alia, financing improvements in water supply and sanitation in seven small towns; the Health Results Innovation Fund which is financing improvements in maternal and child health care in rural and urban clinics; the State and Peace Building Fund which financed support in cholera-affected communities; and the Rapid Social Response Fund  which financed our response  to the 2008 food crisis.

Each of these interventions is covered by strong policies and mechanisms to ensure that resources reach the intended and affected and that there is a strong protection for the poorest and most vulnerable. These mechanisms address many concerns raised by advocacy groups and civil society such as your organisation. We are open to dialogue with you on improvements and towards our shared goal of strengthening protections for people in Zimbabwe and all countries in which we work.

In Zimbabwe, the World Bank can only resume direct financial support to Zimbabwe when the issue of arrears is fully resolved. The approach is standard to all International Financial Institutions. Upon arrears clearance, however, Zimbabwe would be eligible as a borrowing member of the Bank to a broad range of financing instruments, all of which would be subject to the strong safeguard policies and mechanisms mentioned above. 

To this end, I would like to invite you to dialogue with our team working on Zimbabwe to help improve our understanding of the challenges in Zimbabwe today and to help us to carve out an appropriate engagement strategy for your country.

Yours sincerely, 

Guang Zhe Chan

Country Director, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia

Africa Region.

In response to the letter from the World Bank, Dzamara says,” It’s actually encouraging that the World Bank is not giving Mugabe and his minions a lifeline. They don’t deserve it because they are inclined towards mismanagement. They are irresponsible and corrupt.”

He continued by stating, “They are broke and they must face the music. The country is heading towards a total precipice as a result of their leadership failure and corruption. That Zanu PF bunch can’t be trusted to run the affairs of this country.

“The other important aspect to note is that ZANU PF is in its twilight zone. If they borrow, we will be responsible for paying off the debt. That’s unfair because they are the only ones who would have benefitted from the facility.”

“Overall, Zanu PF is like a dead log. We all know that watering a dead log won’t bring it back to life. No matter what we do or don’t do, there is no hope in ZANU PF. We must work and look beyond them. Only a new breed of leaders will take Zimbabwe forward. We must bleed this monster called ZANU PF to its death.”

You can read the  original letter here

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