IMF to conduct virtual staff mission to Zimbabwe with no financial support

HARARE (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not provide financial support for Zimbabwe hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but will conduct a virtual staff mission next month, Director of the Communications Department Gerry Rice said Friday.

The IMF is aware of the deteriorating economic and social situation in Zimbabwe, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rice said.

“We are precluded from providing financial support at this point, due to unsustainable debt and official external arrears at the situation,” he said, adding that “the Fund continues to provide policy advice and capacity development to Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe cleared its 15-year debt arrears to the IMF amounting to about 108 million U.S. dollars in 2016. However, the IMF insisted that the African country is not eligible to receive new loans until it clears debt with other international financial institutions and bilateral creditors and also implements a strong reform agenda.

According to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s total guaranteed external debt stood at about 8.43 billion dollars at end of December 2020.

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