Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, has issued an
impassioned plea to international finance institutions, laying bare the country’s
battered economy and saying it faces “catastrophe” if it does not
access critical bailout funding to fight the combined impact of crippling
drought and the coronavirus pandemic.
In a leaked letter, the authenticity of which has been
confirmed by a senior government official, Ncube wrote to the International
Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international institutions, saying the
country faced record poverty levels.
Ncube said without a transformative arrears clearance and
re-engagement plan, Zimbabwe could “suffer a health and economic
catastrophe” and the economy could contract by as much as 20%.
“This is a massive contraction with very serious social
consequences,” that could “raise poverty to levels not seen in recent
times,” reads part of the letter.
Zimbabwe, which cleared its debts with the IMF, still owes
other international lenders more