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A WORLD Bank executive has said Zimbabwe’s economy has great potential due to its infrastructure, much of it now idle due to an economic crisis.

Louis Larose, an executive director of Africa Group 1, a unit of the World Bank, was in the country leading a delegation of World Bank officers on a familiarisation tour.

“Seeing is believing. I have been here and of course for me the Republic of Zimbabwe certainly has a lot of economic potential,” Larose said after a tour of Bulawayo.

Larose’s team included an African Development Bank (ADB) delegation.

The purpose of their visit was for the multilateral institutions to get an appreciation of the situation on the ground and find possible ways of extending lines of credit in the near future.

Larose said the country still had good infrastructure, although much of it was now lying idle and antiquated.

“I feel personally there is hope for the city of Bulawayo there is hope for the Republic of Zimbabwe if of course the World Bank plays a critical role to take care of the investment in the private sector,” said Larose.

He said that investment in the private sector could help create employment while generating economic growth.

“What I have seen is that people seem to be having a lot of ideas, they are ready to work, there is a lot of energy, there is a lot of commitment but the main message that I get is lack of finance,” he said.

“So once we can certainly ensure that the amount of finance is being provided by the private sector, I feel there is a lot of prosperity that can be created.”

He said although it was his first time in Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub, he was very impressed with the level of projects taking place in the city.

“Nevertheless I feel that the World Bank Group should give more support to these industries and companies and certainly this will allow for creation of employment and economic growth for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“I will be making a g case vis-a-vis the World Bank and bilateral partners and other international donor agencies to make sure that they bring a package for the Republic of Zimbabwe because we believe that we have a lot to contribute to Zimbabwe.

Source : Financial Gazette