US warns World Bank on Zim
THE United States Senate has called on the World Bank to ensure the US$7 million grant to Zimbabwe for the coronavirus (Covid-19) fight is not abused by the ruling Zanu PF party.
This comes after the World Bank on Wednesday offered Zimbabwe a US$7 million grant to enable the struggling Harare administration to fight the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has killed four people in Zimbabwe and has been confirmed in 34 cases.
A leaked letter to international lenders like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that was penned by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube exposed the depth of the crisis that Harare is staring at if it does not get a bailout.
US Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jim Risch said in a post on micro-blogging platform Twitter that there is a danger that the money could be abused if it is not channelled properly.
“The $7m World Bank grant for Zimbabwe reported today should come with strict transparency and accountability measures to ensure Zimbabweans receive services and support during Covid-19, and that these funds aren’t lost to ongoing mismanagement by the Zimbabwean government,” said Risch.
On Wednesday the World Bank said Zimbabwe will get the $7 million notwithstanding its arrears with the Washington-based lender.
“We recognise this is a global crisis that impacts every country and we cannot leave anyone behind,” a World Bank spokesperson told Bloomberg.
According to the Bloomberg report, the World Bank will mobilise US$5 million from its Global Financing Facility Trust Fund to support the nation’s health response to the outbreak and redirect about US$2 million from its ongoing Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project to support affected communities, a World Bank spokesperson said in an e-mailed response to questions.
The support will come from the Bank’s trust funds and partners because Zimbabwe isn’t current on its debt-service obligations with the institution and therefore can’t access funds through its regular financing channels, the lender said.
In his letter gleaned by the Daily News dated April 2, 2020, Ncube says if the country does not get a rescue package of US$200 million it could implode, with grave consequences that could threaten the security of neighbouring countries.
“Zimbabwe’s economy could contract by 15-20 percent during 2020 with very serious consequences. Already 8,5 million Zimbabweans (half the population) are food insecure,” Ncube said.