October 28, 2021

Zimbabwe Multi-Stakeholder Debt Conference 2021

Harare, Zimbabwe. September 21, 2021. The African Forum on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) is pleased to announce it will be hosting the Third Annual Zimbabwe Multi-Stakeholder Debt Conference at Rainbow Towers Hotel on 22-24 September 2021. The Conference is being held in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD).

The Zimbabwe Multi-Stakeholder Debt Conference is geared towards discussing public finance management and development issues in Zimbabwe, and it constitutes part of the Africa Conference on Debt and Development (AfCoDD) but at national level. The Conference brings together political, technical, and civic leaders, academia, the media and citizens to deliberate on key issues around transparency and accountability in public finance management in an effort to ensure implementation of the Government of Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

The Conference is being convened within the context of Zimbabwe Government total public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt to GDP ratio of 88.9% in 2020, with projections being that this figure is worsening in 2021 due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In dollar terms, the PPG external debt as of December 2020 was US$10.5 billion (77% being arrears) while the domestic PPG debt as of April 2021 was ZWL$20.9 billion (US$64.9 million). In the first quarter of 2021, the Government paid US$17.07 million in external debt service, with US$11.33 million going towards non-Paris Club debt.

In addition, the Conference is being held in an environment characterised by slow implementation of public finance management legislation related to transparency on government borrowing, the oversight role of the legislature in as far as it pertains to loan utilisation, and procurement regulations.

The accumulation of debt arrears has made it difficult for the country to access external financing. In addition, Zimbabwe heavily relies on rain–fed agriculture and exports of raw minerals, both being revenue sources sensitive to climate change and external shocks. As such, managing public debt is critical to ensuring the required resources are raised to implement NDS1 in a sustainable manner.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional fiscal pressure, such as the ZWL$18 billion (US$55.9 million) stimulus package, which necessitated further borrowing. The debt accumulation has taken place as Zimbabwe has not benefitted from debt relief programmes such as the Debt Service Suspension Initiative and the G20 Common Framework, and concessionary loans provided by the IMF and World Bank that were availed to help countries fight effects of COVID-19 due to uncleared debt arrears to international financial institutions.

The Zimbabwe Multi-Stakeholder Debt Conference, thus, presents an opportunity for political, technical, and civic leaders, academia, the media and citizens to chart a holistic approach and common vision to resolve the debt overhang and ensure transparency and accountability; and ensure that debt serves the interest of the majority of Zimbabweans as enshrined in the Constitution.

Relatedly, the Conference will allow stakeholders to agree on how best to ensure there is transparency and accountability in the use of the US$961 million in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) recently issued to the Government of Zimbabwe by the IMF. AFRODAD has welcomed the SDRs issuance but continues to advise that it is not a silver bullet to resolving the economic, health and social structural challenges that the Government of Zimbabwe faces.

Conference Format

The conference will be delivered in hybrid format combining both physical and virtual participation.

Dates:                           22-24 September 2021

Venue:                          Rainbow Towers Hotel & Conference Centre, Harare

Online via this link:        https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89195433099?pwd=dENxWmhpdVNia0JPSElxdjAxeWpXUT09

Contact Persons:          Fidélité Nshimiyimana – fidelite@afrodad.org

Dennis Mutadzakupa – dennis@afrodad.org

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About AFRODAD: The African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) was established 25 years ago as a Pan-African platform and organisation for lobbying and advocating for debt cancellation and addressing other debt related issues in Africa. Today, AFRODAD remains committed to contributing to the long-term development of the continent through its contribution to finding sustainable solutions to Africa’s challenges in debt, resource management and financial development.

About ZIMCODD: The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) is a socio-economic justice coalition established in 2000 to facilitate citizens’ involvement in making public policy more pro-people and pro-poor. ZIMCODD views indebtedness, the unfair global trade regime and lack of democratic people-centred economic governance as root causes of the socio-economic challenges in Zimbabwe and the world at large.

Source: AFRODAD