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IMF Puts Burden on Zimbabwe to Rehabilitate, Qualify For New Funding

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that Zimbabwe would have to show that it is committed to economic and other reforms and settle arrears on its international debts for the lender of last resort to consider funding the country's reconstruction.

The statement followed the conclusion of so-called Article IV consultations between an IMF team and government officials. The World Bank also visited for an assessment.

The IMF statement said its provision of technical and financial assistance “will depend on [Harare] establishing a track record of sound policy implementation, donor support and [the] resolution of overdue financial obligations to official creditors."

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe sources said Harare is US$137 million behind on debt payments to the IMF. The World Bank says Harare's arrears total US$600 million and the African Development Bank is owed US$429 million. Total debt is about US$5 billion.

Economist Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the IMF is putting the burden of proof on Harare, but that other countries such as neighboring Zambia have rehabilitated their IMF status.

Elsewhere, Swedish Ambassador Sven Rylander told Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that his government will provide another US$10 million to Zimbabwe to fund the overhaul of the country's water and sanitation systems, among other humanitarian needs.

Rylander noted that this increase in humanitarian assistance will make more funds available for Mr. Tsvangirai's recently installed national unity government to pursue its program, reported Studio 7 correspondent Sylvia Manika from Harare.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...