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Zimbabwean Finance Minister Biti Seeks to Re-Engage World Bank


The World Bank has set aside US$72 billion in development aid for Sub-Saharan Africa – but Zimbabwe has been excluded due to concern over the indigenization process and political uncertainty

Zimbabwean Finance minister Tendai Biti was due in Washington on Monday for meetings with US and multilateral financial officials on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, seeking development aid and debt relief.

The World Bank has set aside US$72 billion in development aid for Sub-Saharan Africa through its concessional rate lending facility – but Zimbabwe has been excluded due to concern over the indigenization process and political uncertainty related to elections.

President Robert Mugabe recently said elections must be held no later than March of next year, but Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - backed by the Southern African Development Community - has said many reforms must first be put in place.

US and World Bank officials said they would ask Biti for an update on those reforms, the stalemate in the power-sharing Harare government, his proposals to pay international debt arrears, implementation of a civil servant audit, and other key issues.

Biti was to meet with US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson.

The Zimbabwean finance minister told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that he intends to make Harare’s case in Washington though the odds of success are long.

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