Seeking to change deadbeat image, Zimbabwe pays debt



Seeking to change deadbeat image, Zimbabwe pays debt

After 20 years of not paying its debts, Zimbabwe is taking steps to clean up its balance sheet and its image by making payments to major creditors.

Even if admittedly token amounts, the government hopes they will build goodwill towards Zimbabwe.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced during a video conference this month that Zimbabwe had made its first payments in two decades to a group of rich countries known as the Paris Club.

“We have started paying them because, as a country, we ought to be known as good debtors and not bad debtors,” Ncube said.

In addition to the first payments in two decades to the 17 nations that are part of the Paris Club, he said Zimbabwe was also settling its debts to multilateral lenders.

“We have taken the step of beginning to pay token payments to the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank,” Ncube said.

Clearing Zimbabwe’s debts, or simply catching up on payments, is a mammoth task.

The $11 billion that Zimbabwe owes to foreign lenders amounts to about 71 percent of the country’s GDP. Some $6.5 billion of the total is payments that are in arrears.

Ncube said the government would need a “sponsor” to bring its debt payments under control.

It was unclear what exactly he meant by that, but he said the goal was “really to tackle those arrears with the World Bank and the African Development Bank, the preferred creditors.”

“We are working hard on that,” he said.

Zimbabwe defaulted on its debts when the economy fell into a tailspin 20 years ago under then-president Robert Mugabe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after a coup in 2017, wants to renew ties with Europe and the United States, which had largely cut them over Mugabe’s undermining of elections and human rights abuses.

– ‘Essentially a gesture’ -“The country seeks to re-engage with the international community in Europe and the US,” economist Persistence Gwanyanya told AFP. The debt payments “are positive actions that will convince the rest of the world that we mean what we say.”

The West may take a lot of convincing.

Mnangagwa, once a top deputy to Mugabe, is among the senior government officials banned from travelling or banking in the United States and Europe.

Western countries froze his assets in protest of human rights violations, and so far have shown little inclination to ease them.

In July, Britain added new sanctions to a Zimbabwean official for fraudulently redeeming treasury bills at 10 times their official value.

But Gwanyanya said making even small payments on its debts shows the world that Mnangagwa wants to do business differently from his predecessor.

“That Zimbabwe has started to do so at a time where our debt is very in excess would unlock some capital from the external world,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s economy has swung dramatically since 2000, shrinking at a breathtaking rate during years of hyperinflation, before clawing its way back to growth in 2009.

Covid-19 and a drought pushed the economy back into recession, with inflation returning to triple digits.

Inflation has settled back down into double digits — sitting at 56 percent in July, down from 106 the previous month — and Ncube has ambitious plans to bring the country into the global middle class by 2030.

To do that, Zimbabwe will need capital and investors. Paying down its debts is one way to make the country more attractive.

“Essentially it’s a gesture,” Gwanyanya said. “It does not mean we are able to pay the complete debt but it will send a signal to the rest of the world about our willingness to service debts and therefore change perceptions of how others view the country.”

Short Link:


NNN: :is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @

Recent Posts

Pharmaceutical company reasserts commitment to achieving zero malaria tolerance 77 teachers smile home with laptops in Surulere, Lagos Defection: President Buhari welcomes Femi Fani-Kayode to APC Lack of fice hinders women participation in politics – Emir 85, 265MT of LPG supplied nationwide in August – PPPRA African Development Bank’s SEFA provides $1 million to kick off modernization of Africa’s Hydropower Fleet DPR seals 11 illegal gas plants, 2 petrol stations in Abuja Africa faces 470m COVID-19 vaccine shortfall in 2021 – WHO Wada Maida’s daughter lauds FG for naming HQ after father Somali president withdraws PM’s powers in escalating row China fully vaccinates more than 1 billion people Angola’s National Oil, Gas and Biofuel’s Agency (ANPG) Highly Satisfied with Final Results from 2020 Bid Round Alert raised over quake surge around Canaries volcano Our chairman is hale, hearty – EFCC Putin to attend 2022 Beijing Olympics: minister In Dialogue with Eswatini, Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomes legislative progress and asks about child Health West Africa bloc ECOWAS meets over Guinea coup Meet Africa’s New Generation of Health Innovators Kenyans voice fury over fuel price hike Coronavirus: Africa faces 470 million COVID-19 vaccine shortfall in 2021 The International Organization for Migration is calling on Journalists to enter the inaugural West and Central Africa Migration Journalism Award 2021 Majority of fans favour more frequent men’s FIFA World Cups – global survey Short Stories on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by African Young People AMISOM conducts field inspection of ongoing Quick Impact Projects in Baidoa UNESCO steps up efforts for biodiversity conservation with the designation of 20 new biosphere reserves International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation signs ten high-level Trade Agreements representing more than US$1.2bn The Gambia Launches Ambitious Renewable Energy Projects (By Miguel Artacho) Biden backs top general on calls to China over Trump mental state Philippines’ Duterte will not cooperate with ICC drug war probe Pandemics: UK expert advises Nigerian leaders, others on collaborations At least 50 killed in Yemen clashes: military sources Ghana launches National Breastfeeding Week White House offers Nicki Minaj phone call after viral vaccine claims: reports New South Sudan Parliament can ‘infuse urgency’ into peace process Putin says dozens in Kremlin inner circle have Covid ‘Kill them’: Philippines’ Duterte wages war on drugs Indian peacekeepers in Malakal teach youth carpentry, welding, masonry and more Hapag-Lloyd inaugurates its own representation in Morocco Ugo Obasi joins Ingenico to drive new business in Nigeria and West Africa President of Egypt Receives Credentials of Qatari Ambassador United Nations Police (UNPOL) builds community policing capacities to bolster safety and security of residents on Tonj south Liquid Intelligent Technologies connects the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville with high-speed connectivity using wireless optical communication technology Secretary-General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Meets the Ethiopian Ambassador Envoy fears heightened abductions as Nigeria schools resume ECOWAS meets today to decide next step on Guinea DPR targets N3.2 trillion revenue by December 2021 I have no apologies saying Buhari has good heart – Umahi Nigeria to assist DR Congo to establish national fire service Chimamanda tasks German Chancellor Merkel on power deal FG says 25 % of diseases in Nigeria caused by mycotoxins – Minister