Despite the dominant perspective of a ruffled relationship, the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) remain the top funding bilateral development partners in Zimbabwe, the 2022 budget outlook reveals.
In his budget speech, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube alluded that development partners continue to play a pivotal role in supporting the government’s efforts towards the implementation of the National Development Strategy (NDS1) programmes and projects.
“ During the period January to September 2021, the country received development assistance amounting to US$647.6 million, of which US$401.7 million was from bilateral partners and US$245.9 million from multilateral partners. A furtherUS$202.4 million in development assistance is projected during the fourth quarter of 2021.
In 2022, support from the development partners is projected at US$764.7 million, mainly towards health, agriculture, social protection and governance,” stated the Finance Minister.
Amongst the top development financers include countries such as the USA, the UK, European Union, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands and South Korea.
“The figures only include official development assistance or aid which is mainly targeting the local humanitarian sectors. They do not include trade statistics,” economist, Dr Prosper Chitambara said in further explanation of the figures.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s external debt is estimated at around US$ 13.2 billion as of September 2021.
During the period January to September 2021, Treasury made payments to external creditors amounting to US$44.2 million, with a big chunk of the payments made to China Eximbank (US$ 15 million), Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (US$ 11.69 million) and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (US$ 6 million).
The China Eximbank has been financing various projects in Zimbabwe including the Victoria Falls Airport, Netone Network Expansion Phase 3, and the Telone Backbone Network and Broadband Access.
These projects have led to the accumulation of arrears by the Zimbabwean government thereby affecting loan disbursements to the Treasury by other creditors.