African Development Bank willing to help Zim's recovery

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cape Town -The African Development Bank is prepared to set up a donor meeting with Zimbabwe to see what support is needed to enable recovery in that country.

President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka said this following a meeting of finance ministers from member-states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Wednesday.

Mr Kaberuka explained to BuaNews that Zimbabwe had made an "impressive start" on its economic recovery plan which warranted support from the international community.

"The first steps I have seen, listening to the Zimbabwean Minister Tendai Biti, are quite impressive and it merits support," Mr Kaberuka said.

However, he warned that Zimbabwe would need to come forward with a credible economic programme.

Mr Kaberuka is attending a two-day SADC Council of Ministers Conference meeting in Cape Town, aimed at discussing the political developments in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as mull over the regional response to the global economic downturn.

On Wednesday, the SADC countries indicated that while they were willing to thrash out ways to help Zimbabwe, the global economic crisis posed a challenge with regard to a recovery plan for that country.

Zimbabwe's new power-sharing government, in which President Robert Mugabe holds his position while Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister, will be heavily dependent on foreign aid and investment to salvage the country's collapsed economy.

The fragile unity government is being threatened by the detention of Roy Bennett, a top aide to Mr Tsvangirai, and some 30 other activists and supporters of the former opposition leader.

Western donors have made it clear that they will come forth with aid and lift sanctions only once a democratic government is successfully created and bold economic reforms are implemented in Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the opening of the conference on Thursday, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma reiterated the need for sanctions to be lifted, saying that the international community must create an enabling environment for the Zimbabwean people to recover.

"It is our view that the formation of an inclusive government has indeed paved the way for the people of Zimbabwe to begin the process of national reconciliation, economic recovery and reconstruction and development.

"As SADC it is our responsibility together with the international community to help the people of Zimbabwe in their endeavour to address their economic challenges as well as the humanitarian crisis facing their country," Ms Dlamini Zuma told fellow ministers.

Executive Secretary of SADC, Tomaz Salomao said the developments in Zimbabwe brought about real prospects for the reconciliation, recovery and development of Zimbabwe.

"It is not the first time that we see settlement of political differences in favor of reconciliation and the supreme interest of the peoples and citizens of some of our member states," the executive secretary said in his opening remarks.