A World Bank senior official on Wednesday said the international donors are ready to help Zimbabwe’s ailing economy recover as soon as the government proves it is committed to economic and social change.
from our correspondent in Harare
Said the World Bank’s director in the region, Micheal Baxter: “Zimbabwe is in a bad situation and the reality is that many donors are ready to assist Zimbabwe once the government shows the commitment to the international community that they are willing to address the critical economic and social problems,”
Apart from overseeing Zimbabwe, Baxter is also in charge of Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Angola for the Bank.
Baxter, was in Harare on an evaluation mission on Tuesday, said inflation in Zimbabwe — the world’s highest at 165,000 percent was “realistically” at 200,000 percent.
He said the World Bank was prepared to offer emergency grants to help get the local economy back on its feet as soon as the government showed it was dedicated to reform.
Baxter did not comment on Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential elections, in which opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says he defeated Robert Mugabe.
“Once the government says ‘we want to address seriously our economic and social challenges’, many multilateral and bilateral donors are ready to support Zimbabwe,” Baxter said.
He says the first thing will be grants and not loans, because “it’s an
emergency issue,” said Baxter.
Zimbabwe, which once boasted strong agricultural and manufacturing sectors has slowly descended into economic chaos over the past decade, weighing on regional development.
The country faces chronic shortages of food, water and fuel and has an
unemployment rate of 80 percent.
About 3.5 million out of a population of 12 million Zimbabweans have fled the country since the late 1990’s.