Finance Ministers to discuss Zimbabwe's economic bailout

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Harare - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti and his South African counterpart, Trevor Manuel will continue talks on a safe exit out of the current economic crisis that has left the country in the world's highest inflation, last estimated at over 231 million.

South African President, Kgalema Motlanthe told reporters in Cape Town on Saturday, following their meeting with the Zimbabwean delegation, that talks are expected to continue this week between the two countries' ministers on an emergency plan.

He was optimistic that by the end of this week there will be clarity on how South Africa could respond to Zimbabwe's request.

Zimbabwe's economic bailout is estimated to carry a cost of around US$ 5 billion in the short term and the delegation, led by newly appointed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvagirai, was hoping for at least $1 billion from its neighbour.

As the new regime in Zimbabwe faces a huge mountain of challenges brought about by years of administrative neglect and policies shooting from the hip, the government will also be looking at strengthening laws as a way for re-attracting foreign direct investment in the battered Southern African state.

Mr Tsvangirai told reporters in Cape Town that his country needed urgent short-term interventions to kick start the economy.

Zimbabwe still faces a number of targeted sanctions from the western countries, who have expressed a desire to wait and watch as the functionality of the newly formed unity government unfolds.