20 May 2014 5:54PM
HARARE – Brazil says it will not financially support Zimbabwe’s projects under its ambitious economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset).
The country’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Marcia Maro Da Silva told the businessdaily that the southern African nation is too rich to beg for financial assistance.
“As a rule, Brazil does not give any support to sovereign nations and we don’t give out hand-outs either. Usually, we find synergies and business opportunities where we can work with people on various projects,” she said.
“Zimbabwe is a rich country and does not need donations but investments. ZimAsset offers opportunities for Brazil to come and invest in infrastructure and other sectors but there is need for clarity on the country’s economic policies,” added Silva.
This comes as the cash-strapped southern African country has been struggling to secure $27 billion to fund projects enunciated in ZimAsset, which is supposed to guide economic development programmes until December 2018.
The blueprint, which borrows from the ruling party Zanu PF’s election manifesto and previous national development programmes, identifies four major clusters, namely food security and nutrition, social services and poverty reduction, infrastructure and utilities and value addition and beneficiation.
ZimAsset comes on the back of a cocktail of economic policies that have dismally failed to breathe life into the country’s economy.
These range from the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) to Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation (Zimprest) to the abandoned Medium Term Plan that was supposed to run until next year, among others.
Zimbabwe, which according to the international Monetary Fund has an external debt of approximately $10,7 billion, is failing to get loans due its bad payment record.
China — long considered Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend — recently conceded that it would only provide funding to the country on the condition that the loan is securitised on vast mineral resources.
“My government is committed to give our support to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery,” said outgoing Chinese ambassador Lin Lin.
“What I can say now is that the two sides are carrying out discussions on lines of credit provided by Chinese financial institutions as proposed by Zimbabwean side using your minerals as kind of security.
We are looking forward to reach a kind of an agreement on that issue and I hope sometime this year,” he said recently.
Economist John Robertson says without right policies, which include the respect for property rights and curbing endemic corruption, Zim Asset will remain a pipe dream.
“The policy does not only need money, but also policies that would make people make that level of commitment. Policies that will not damage property and ownership rights,” he said.
Robertson noted that the economic blueprint did not have a concrete milestones and substance to remedy the country’s economic ills.
“The policy is not a plan, but a description of a destination because it has neither indication nor route of how to get there,” Robertson said.
He said plans to get some of that funding from Diaspora remittances was bound to fail as the efforts to securitise minerals underground.