Zimbabwe borrowed 1.4 bln USD from Afreximbank between 2017 and 2019: finance minister

Source: Xinhua| 2021-02-13 19:03:56|Editor: huaxia
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HARARE, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has borrowed a total of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars from African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) between December 2017 and December 2019 with the government acting as guarantor, Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has disclosed.

In general notices issued through the Government Gazette on Saturday, Ncube said the first loan agreement of 600 million U.S. dollars in which the Government of Zimbabwe was guarantor was signed on Dec. 27, 2017 "for the purchase of strategic commodities".

Ncube did not however disclose the nature of the strategic commodities.

The disclosure follows a High Court ruling last December in which Ncube was ordered to publish details of all loans and guarantees incurred by the government from Jan. 2017 to Dec. 1, 2020 with Afreximbank and other international financiers.

Harare North legislator Allan Norman Markham and the Community Water Alliance Trust had taken him, RBZ and Afreximbank to court in September 2019 in a bid to force the disclosure of the loan agreements.

There have also been concerns that the government, through RBZ, was signing loan agreements without Parliament's approval as demanded by the Constitution.

The second loan, which was signed on May 21, 2019, was also "for the purpose of purchase of strategic commodities", and for the Prospective Currency Reform Program.

Again, Ncube did not disclose the nature of the strategic commodities.

The final loan agreement for 300 million U.S. dollars was signed on Dec. 31, 2019, with Ncube once again saying that it was for the purchase of strategic commodities. Enditem