Zimbabwe has raised an additional $50 million to further pay down debt service arrears to the International Monetary Fund, following a payment of $120 million last week in an effort to avoid being expelled as a member, a central bank source said.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the latest tranche was raised from local exporters who were offered an exchange rate comparable to parallel market rates, currently around Z$45,000 per U.S. dollar.
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, meanwhile, left Harare for Washington where he was to present Zimbabwe’s case for retaining membership to the IMB board.
Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa was to join Mr. Gono next week for the IMF-World Bank annual meetings, Harare sources said.
The IMF board was set to take up Zimbabwe’s suspension when it meets Friday, but observers said the payment of $170 million augured a more favorable outcome.
However, while Zimbabwe has probably managed to stave off expulsion from the IMF, economists warned that the last-minute payments would come at a steep price for the country’s all-but-collapsed economy. Zimbabweans can expect continued shortages of food, fuel and other basic commodities, and a further inflationary surge, they said.
Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with former University of Zimbabwe law faculty dean Dennis Mandudzo, now a Ph.D. candidate in finance law at Stanford University in California, who said the eleventh-hour payments to the IMF may enable Zimbabwe to keep its membership, but won’t change much else.
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