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Zim faces herculean task in tackling debt



ZIMBABWE faces a herculean task in improving its rankings on the Mo Ibrahim Index as the southern African nation commits to far-reaching political governance reforms in order to cosy up to creditors, a new implementation matrix plan has shown.


The Mo Ibrahim Foundation defines governance as the provision of political, social, economic and environmental goods that a citizen has the right to expect from their state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens.

According to the Arrears Clearance and Debt Resolution Process Governance Reforms Matrix, Zimbabwe agreed upon seven sub-indicators under the Mo Ibrahim Index and has undertaken to improve on its rankings.

The sub-indicators are:   Democratic elections; absence of violence against civilians; impartiality of the judicial system and judicial processes; civil society space; institutional checks and balances; and transparency in public procurement procedures.

Zimbabwe currently scores 49.54 (in 2022) out of 100.0 in overall governance, ranking 29th out of 54 in Africa. The country scores lower than the African average (48.9) and lower than the regional average for southern Africa (54.2).

Under the implementation matrix seen by The NewsHawks, Zimbabwe seeks to improve the governance index to 51.03 this year from 49.54 reported last year. Next year, the country sees the score improving to 52.56 before further climbing to 54.14 the following year.

Published since 2007, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance assesses governance performance in 54 African countries over the latest available 10-year period. It provides a framework and dashboard for any interested audience to assess the delivery of public goods and services and public policy outcomes in African countries.

The IIAG constitutes the most comprehensive dataset measuring African governance, providing specific scores and trends at African continental, regional, and national level, on a whole spectrum of thematic governance dimensions, from security to justice to rights and economic opportunity to health.

The financially beleaguered is once again trying to engage its creditors, including Bretton Woods institutions and the Paris Club, in negotiating a reprieve around its debt arrears and unblocking access to credit.

Experts say before this, several plans collapsed due to lack of political will to reform.

 As a condition for debt dialogue, lenders insist the government embarks on a process of reforms.

The country owes around US$17 billion in public debt, the vast majority of which (US$14 billion) is external debt. 

Official figures show that 60% of this external debt is arrears or interest incurred by non-payment. The country’s currency is in freefall following the government’s decision to liberalise the market.

Experts say for the country’s High-Level Debt Resolution Forum to work, the Zanu PF government must commit to significant governance reforms.

African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina recently flagged this when he said: “The most difficult and more sensitive reforms are the governance reforms . . . As I mentioned during the second high-level dialogue and in my discussions with H.E.”

“President Mnangagwa, development partners and other creditors, it is important that we find a mechanism to try to fast-track and front-load the payment of these compensations. Hope delayed makes the heart go weary. Further delays in paying the compensations could erode trust and confidence,” he said.

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