Zimbabwe reform urgent: IMF

24 November 2017 - 07:13 By Reuters
Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) sits with his wife Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa (L). File photo.
Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (C) sits with his wife Grace Mugabe and Emmerson Mnangagwa (L). File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo /File Photo

Zimbabwe's economic growth was threatened by high government spending, an untenable foreign exchange regime and inadequate reforms, a senior IMF official said this week.

Zimbabwe was once one of Africa's most promising economies but suffered decades of decline as former president Robert Mugabe pursued policies that included the violent seizure of white-owned farms and money-printing that led to hyperinflation.

Zimbabwe has not been able to borrow from international lenders since 1999, when it started defaulting on its debt.

"The economic situation in Zimbabwe remains difficult," Gene Leon, IMF mission chief for Zimbabwe, said.

"Immediate action is critical to reduce the deficit to a sustainable level, accelerate structural reforms and re-engage with the international community to access much-needed financial support."

Leon said Zimbabwe should resolve arrears to the World Bank, African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank, among other reforms, for the IMF to consider any future financing request from the country.

Zimbabwe should also be ready to implement strong macroeconomic policies and structural reforms to restore fiscal and debt sustainability, Leon said. 

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