The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, on December 5, 2012, approved a US $ 24.7 million (UA 16.12 million) grant to finance the Zimbabwe Capacity Building for Public Finance and Economic Management Project.
In line with the country’s 2011-1015 Medium-Term Plan, the project aims at supporting the Government of Zimbabwe in strengthening capacity of key institutions responsible for the implementation of economic and public financial management reforms, among others. The beneficiaries include the Aid and Debt Management Office, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), and the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT).
The project, to be implemented from 2013 – 2015, will be critical to addressing the huge capacity gap created in the Zimbabwean public service, following a decade of economic and political difficulties. Support to the key areas of public financial management and the creation of a legal and institutional framework for PPPs, among others, will go a long way in helping Zimbabwe attain sustained economic growth and development, which are fundamental to job creation and poverty alleviation. The design of the project is in line with the Zimbabwe Country Brief 2011-2013, as well as the Bank’s Strategy for Enhanced Engagement in Fragile States.
The approval comes on the heels of a recent IMF Executive Board’s decision to further relax restrictions on IMF technical assistance to Zimbabwe, which opened the way for talks on a Staff Monitored Program, a precursor for normalization of relations with the Fund and debt relief. The project is very timely, in view of the huge PFM and economic management capacity constraints currently being faced by Zimbabwe. It will provide the much-needed boost to capacity for effective implementation of ongoing reforms.