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Finance Linked to Diplomacy in Pretoria-Harare Loan Talks

  • Studio 7

Talks about a possible $1 billion loan by South African to Zimbabwe have taken on diplomatic overtones with word that former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has agreed to mediate Zimbabwe’s political crisis, to some degree supplanting South African President Thabo Mbeki, on his way to becoming a major Harare creditor.

Officials in Maputo said Mr. Chissano took on the mediation brief at the request of African Union chairman and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change seems willing to enter talks, but President Robert Mugabe continues to denounce the MDC as a British colonialist tool.

However, Zimbabwe’s threatened economic meltdown could compel Mr. Mugabe to take a seat at the negotiating table.

For perspective on such financial and diplomatic considerations reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to International Crisis Group Director for Southern Africa Peter Kagwanja, who is based in Johannesburg.

The proposed billion-dollar credit line would solve some of Harare’s most urgent financial and economic problems – but only until those funds run out, according to economist Daniel Ndlela, a member of the MDC National Executive, who noted the country's downward - and accelerating - economic spiral.

Mr. Ndlela spoke with reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.

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