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Zimbabwe Bank Governor Lobbies at IMF to Save Membership

Governor Gideon Gono of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe lobbied intensively with top International Monetary Fund officials over the 24 hours before Friday’s meeting of the IMF executive board at which his country’s membership hung in the balance.

Mr. Gono on Thursday and early Friday met individually with a number of members of the executive board to lobby for Zimbabwe’s continued membership despite its failure to pay off debt service arrears. These stood at $175 million after Harare’s payment last week of $120 million on account, the origin of which itself remained an issue.

Official financial sources said Mr. Gono met eight directors Thursday, including Peter Ngumbullu, an executive director representing 20 African countries, Zimbabwe among them, exercising a board voting weight of about 3%.

Mr. Gono and his aides met the African Department director in charge of for Article 4 consultations, Abdoulaye Bitchane, and the governor also called on Britain's director, Tom Scholar, who votes a stake of nearly 5%.

Zimbabwe’s delegation also met Canadian, Japanese and Chinese directors, and bid for the support of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, sources said.

Before the executive board meeting Friday, Mr. Gono met with executive directors from France and Germany who wield weighted votes for a combined 11%.

An IMF source said Mr. Gono was asked to furnish the board with information as to the source of the $120 million, which Harare said came from private exporters.

Mr. Gono spoke before the meeting with reporter Chris Gande of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe about what he hoped to achieve through his lobbying efforts.

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