HARARE, Feb 17 — The Zimbabwean Government has started paying back loans it acquired from the European Investment Bank (EIB) as it moves to restore ties with the institution, a cabinet Minister said on Monday.

The EIB suspended lending to the Zimbabwe government over a decade ago due to a long term debt which, according to the 2014 National Budget, is in excess of $300 million.

In addition to the EIB, Zimbabwe also has outstanding debts with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said restoring normal ties with financial institutions including the EIB was a crucial step towards resuscitating the economy.

“By the way we started this January to make token payments to the EIB to demonstrate our commitment to do business with the bank,” he said.

Chinamasa said a delegation from the bank would soon arrive in Zimbabwe, making it the fourth visit in recent times.

“We would really appreciate it, if we could have the EIB back in Zimbabwe. So I am happy that the EIB will be having another mission to Zimbabwe.

“Our productive sector needs support to accelerate economic growth and achieve sustainable development,” said Chinamasa.

The local industry requires over $2 billion in the short term to bridge funding gaps which have crippled capacity utilization and resulted in closure of some firms.

Industrial productivity collapsed under the weight of illegal economic sanctions imposed by the West over a decade ago.

The sanctions, coupled with bad publicity from some Western media, have tainted the image of Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination and are estimated to have cost the economy over $42 billion.

SOURCE: New Ziana