World Bank: Zimbabwe Not Eligible for Funding Amid Economic Crisis

Fredrick Ngugi September 19, 2016
Zimbabweans protesters calling on President Mugabe to retire. The Cricket Monthly

In the midst of the current political and economic crises in Zimbabwe, the World Bank recently issued a statement refuting claims that it has resumed direct lending to Zimbabwe.

In a short press release issued last week, the bank said it did not approve of the Zimbabwe Turnaround Eligibility Assessment Note leaked to the media.

“Contrary to what has been reported in some media, Zimbabwe is not currently eligible for financing under IDA’s turnaround facility,” the World Bank wrote.

The bank also reiterated that while it is committed to working with all partner countries, including Zimbabwe, in order to achieve its long-term development goals, it will only resume direct lending to Zimbabwe when the issue of arrears is resolved.

“Upon arrears clearance, Zimbabwe would be eligible as a borrowing member of the bank to a broad range of financing instruments,” the bank said.

Who’s Fooling Who?

The World Bank was responding to reports published by a section of Zimbabwean media, claiming that the bank was considering a bailout package for Zimbabwe.

On September 7, the Daily Maverick reported that the World Bank concluded that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s “popular” economic reforms are working and that ongoing human rights violations can be tolerated.

“The World Bank is working on an extensive bailout package for Zimbabwe, which could see the state receive a cash injection of up to $400 million beginning in 2017, according to leaked documents,” the Daily Maverick reported.

“The internal documents – a draft turnaround eligibility note and a draft country engagement note – praise Zimbabwe’s economic reforms, and appear to dismiss concerns about the level of human rights violations occurring in the country. They are dated 27 July 2016 and 28 July 2016, respectively, and were prepared by the departments responsible for handling Zimbabwe.”

However, the bank dismissed these claims, saying the leaked note was an unofficial draft document.

Mugabe Under Pressure

For almost two months, a cloud of unrest has settled over Zimbabwe, with civilians demanding the retirement of their 92-year-old president because he has crippled the economy.

United by social media, the angry protesters have been engaging security forces in running battles on the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, on a weekly basis.

Even his longtime confidants have joined the call for President Mugabe to relinquish power in the wake of a depleted economy and empty public coffers.

However, the veteran president, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1987, has dismissed calls for him to step down, promising to hit back at those protesting against him.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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