Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said the African Development Bank (AfDB) board has endorsed Zimbabwe’s reform agenda under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
Posting on his Twitter account on Monday, Prof Ncube said the regional financier approved Zimbabwe’s country brief. This is a bold endorsement of the TSP reform agenda.
“The African Development Bank (AfDB) board approved the Zimbabwe Country Brief last week, an endorsement of TSP reform agenda. This is another milestone towards the debt arrears clearance strategy,” said Prof Ncube.
Zimbabwe’s arrears to the AfDB amounts to $610 million, over $1,16 billion to the World Bank and $212 million to the European Investment Bank.
Government has to settle external arrears with all the multilateral financial institutions for Zimbabwe to start accessing funds from them.
Responding to questions in Parliament recently, Prof Ncube highlighted that the Government had started making token payments to the World Bank, European Investment Bank and African Development Bank.
The Minister said the country was on a roadmap to clear external arrears and the process involved coming up with the TSP, which had already been approved by external creditors.
Prof Ncube has said the arrears clearance plan was tied to economic reforms, which are key to President Mnangagwa’s administration as Government seeks to lead Zimbabwe towards attaining Upper Middle Income status by 2030.
Meanwhile, AfDB, with donor partners will this week launch the African Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI).
ADFI is an innovative financing facility designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion across Africa, with a goal of ensuring that 332 million more Africans, 60 percent of them being women, have access to the formal economy.
“The AfDB, with donor partners, will launch the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI) on June 12, 2019 at the bank’s Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea,” said the institution in a statement.
Digital financial services are emerging as a powerful force for financial inclusion, gender equality and inclusive economic growth.
For consumers in low and middle-income countries, digital financial tools such as mobile payment systems, provide a gateway to greater economic security, empowerment and opportunity.
Although there is a growing ownership of mobile phones in Africa, the benefits of digital financial inclusion have not been fully harnessed.
The Malabo launch will outline the fund’s objectives, structure and focus areas.