THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for peace in Zimbabwe urging stakeholders to work on developing and implementing policies that will stabilise the economy and promote sustainable and inclusive growth.
The southern African nation last week witnessed a brutal crackdown by security forces on protestors who were demonstrating against the rising cost of living and general deterioration of the country’s economy.
Official figures put inflation at 42% but prices of basic goods and fuel have gone up more than threefold. Economist Steve Hanke puts Zimbabwe’s inflation at more than 200%.
“I would say that of course Zimbabwe is facing major challenges and just in terms of the unrest, we encourage all stakeholders to collaborate peacefully in developing and implementing policies that will stabilise the economy and promote sustainable and inclusive growth,” IMF communications director Gerry Rice, told reporters.
Rice added that the country was headed in the right direction in terms of addressing the fiscal deficit and monetary policy.
Authorities in the southern African nation are working on a transitional stabilisation programme which should address the country’s budget and narrow trade deficit in order to rejig the country’s failing economy.
The country, which is in dire need of concessional lending, cannot access fresh lines of support until it settles arrears to the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank in the region of $2 billion.
“Zimbabwe continues to be in a difficult situation regarding debt with protracted arrears to official creditors including multilateral creditors such as the World Bank which severely limits Zimbabwe’s access to international financial support,” said Rice.
“In terms of the IMF, Zimbabwe has in fact cleared its arrears to us, to the fund, but our rules preclude lending to a country that is still in or under arrears to other international financial situations. So until that particular situation is resolved, we would not be moving forward with a financial support for Zimbabwe”.