Zim wants $100m from SA
Zimbabwe is turning to South Africa and Angola for help in plugging a $400-million hole in its budget, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday.
The country's economy is recovering under a coalition government formed in 2009 by President Robert Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but is still suffering the hangover of a decade-long recession widely blamed on Mugabe policies such as the seizure of white-owned farms.
Biti said Harare would seek at least $150-million from South Africa and Angola.
"I have secured an important appointment with South Africa's minister of finance two weeks from now.
"At this meeting we are going to make a request for budgetary support to the tune of $100-million," he said.
The government needed nearly $400-million before the end of the year to pay annual bonuses for workers, and to finance the 2012-2013 farming season and an expected referendum on a new constitution, Biti said.
Zimbabwe has struggled to attract funding from the likes of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank because of its relatively huge external debt, which Biti put at $9.1-billion.
Mugabe's drive to force foreign firms to hand over majority shares to locals has also kept investors away.