The African Development Bank has availed a $53.4 million grant to Zimbabwe to finance emergency power infrastructure, water and sanitation programs, youth and tourism enhancement projects, among others.
The grant agreement was signed in Harare Wednesday by ADB country representative in Zimbabwe, Mateus Magala, and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Magala said $39.9 million is for the water supply and sanitation and power infrastructure rehabilitation projects. He said this component of the grant was being financed under the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund.
The remainder, that would finance governance and institutional strengthening programs, youth and tourism enhancement projects and the transport sector’s master plan study, came from the African Development Fund.
Magala said the power infrastructure rehabilitation project will enhance electricity transmission throughout the country.
Chinamasa said Zimbabwe’s current priority that will help revamp the economy is energy and water. He said the grants would go a long way towards eliminating the energy deficit in Zimbabwe, ensuring every city and town in the country have running water.
"All these, especially the heavy infrastructural projects, they take time, which is why we are in a hurry. If we don't do them they will be no meaningful growth in agriculture, in the private sector industry and commerce. It can't be a miraculous turn around and we wake up and we find we have generated capacity of 2000 when in fact no construction has taken place,” said Chinamasa.
The grant was financed by resources sourced from development partners such as Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Chinamasa was later expected to move a motion in the National Assembly asking lawmakers to approve a $320 million loan from the Export and Import Bank of China for the expansion of the Kariba South hydro power station.
The expansion project will see an extra 300 megawatts of power being added to the national grid.
Zimbabwe currently produces about 1,200 megawatts, which is half the country’s daily electricity requirements.
Chinamasa also told parliament that the country’s financial sector was sound.
He was responding to questions from lawmakers in the national assembly. He said the fact that only three out of 21 banks experienced liquidity problems in December did not mean that the country’s banking sector was sick.
Thousands of depositors were left stranded during the festive holiday after three locally-owned banks failed to dispense cash.