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Ten members of the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) participated in a consultation mission to Zimbabwe from February 22 to 28, 2015. The goal of the visit was to update the Executive Directors on current socio-economic developments, the implementation of AfDB-funded projects and programmes in the country, and to discuss and explore areas of future co-operation between the Bank Group and the Government of Zimbabwe.
The Board members held consultations with Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of the National Assembly; Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance and Economic Development; other Senior Government Officials; as well as representatives of the private sector, bankers’ association, civil society and the staff of the Bank’s Zimbabwe Field Office (ZWFO). The delegation also discussed joint efforts to enhance the economic advancement of Zimbabwe with heads of international finance institutions and development partners.
The delegation visited projects related to infrastructure development and human development. Notably, the delegation visited the Magamba Vocational Training Centre (TVET), which offers courses in agriculture, hospitality and tourism, welding, motor mechanics, auto electrics, business studies, carpentry and joinery, building studies, clothing technology, cosmetology and domestic electrical installation. The TVET Centre emphasises entrepreneurship development.
The Executive Directors witnessed the official commissioning of a 10-million-litre reservoir (with capacity to supply water to 100,000 people), part of the ZimFund Urgent Water and Sanitation Rehabilitation project. Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa presided over the ceremony attended by more than 1,000 people including Ministers and top Government officials, Ambassadors and representatives of donor countries, as well as AfDB Resident Representative in Zimbabwe, Mateus Magala, and his team. Also, the Executive Directors met the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO), a coordinating body of NGOs in Zimbabwe representing both farmers’ and women’s groups, and Transparency International, amongst others.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa, and the Reserve Bank Governor, John Mangudya, briefed the delegation on the land reform program. The EDs were informed about efforts the financial sector was making to restore investor confidence. Measures include restoration of the Reserve Bank’s role as banker to Government and lender of last resort, and the revival of the interbank facility.
For his part, Ambassador Alieu Momodou Ngum, Spokesman for the Bank delegation and Executive Director for Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan, highlighted the Bank’s support in areas of water and sanitation, and power generation, amongst others. He added that there was a need to provide assistance to the private sector, and that the Bank was working on how to intensify Zimbabwe’s re-engagement with the international community. Zimbabwe has a lot of potential buttressed by skilled workforce, high literacy rate as well as infrastructure in place, Ngum observed.
The Speaker of the National Assembly requested Bank’s support in training new legislators, which the EDs noted was part of the Bank’s programme in Zimbabwe for 2014-2016.
The delegation ended their consultation mission with a courtesy call on President Robert Mugabe and congratulated him on his election as Chairman of African Union (AU). They lauded him on the country’s development agenda, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset 2013-2018). The plan is aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022).