HARARE, June 12 – A delegation from the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is in Zimbabwe for a series of meetings with government, business leaders and the bankers association to consider funding for under-capitalized firms.

Addressing journalists after meeting the IFC team here Thursday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he requested the team to consider funding the local private sector which currently needs financial assistance.

“My request with them is that our industry requires retooling, they should see whether it can be supported in that endevour,” he said. “We need capacity, we need to grow our capacity, more particularly in the informal sector and they are all going to look into those issues.

“I put emphasis on the private sector because if they grow, they make money, in turn that will make money for government by way of taxes.”

Chinamasa said he also asked the IFC to look into funding small and medium-size entrepreneurs. “The more immediate task is to work with them towards creating an operating environment that attracts investment in Zimbabwe,” he said.

IFC regional director Cheikh Qumar Seydi said the corporation would continue engaging the private sector for possible financing. “The purpose of our mission is really to learn, it’s an exploration mission which allows us to really talk to all the key actors in the private sector.”

The IFC last engaged Zimbabwe in 2001. The government, which has an estimated 10 billion US dollar debt, is currently unable to access loans from multilateral finance institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because of the outstanding arrears.