Zimbabwe will hold talks with the US, UK and the European Union to end an impasse over US$14 billion owed to external creditors as it seeks to shore up funding for development programs.
The economy has been locked out of international capital markets since defaulting on payments to the World Bank and other multilateral lenders more than two decades ago. Zimbabwe resumed token repayments in 2021 to regain access to those credit lines and is seeking an International Monetary Fund staff-monitored program to help implement an arrears-clearance and debt-resolution plan overseen by African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.
The government of Zimbabwe will “shortly conduct deeper and direct bilateral engagements with the capitals — Washington DC, London and Brussels,” Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said in a presentation to IMF and World Bank executive directors.
Adesina and former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, a facilitator on the nation’s debt resolution process, will also visit some of the capitals for direct talks, he said. Ncube is currently in Washington for the IMF and World Bank Spring meetings.
Zimbabwe is targeting a High-Level Debt Resolution Forum on May 11, Ncube said.
The external debt overhang and lack of access to international financial resources are weighing heavily on the nation’s development needs and will continue to negatively impact its ability to meet Sustainable Development Goals targets, especially in health, education and social protection, he said.