ABIDJAN -- Zimbabwe has secured a commercial loan of around 1.2 billion US dollars to clear its arrears with the World Bank and a further 1.5 billion USD facility from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to guarantee private sector investments in its drive for economic recovery.

Zimbabwe has struggled with a huge debt owed in part to multilateral lenders who have for decades blocked access to new concessionary loans to fund its development programmes, while investors have also been uncertain about the safety of their capital.

The 1.2 billion USD is in the form of a commercial loan while the 1.5 billion USD is a facility established by Afreximbank to cover investment risks for foreign investors willing to venture into Zimbabwe.

Lack of access to cheaper credit lines from multilateral lenders, because of the arrears, has grossly impacted on the government's ability to drive its development agenda, says Zimbabawe's Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who was here to attend the Africa CEO Forum on Monday and Tuesday.

Zimbabwe in 2016 paid its dues to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but still owes the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) around 1.8 billion USD. Clearance of the IMF, World Bank and AfDB arrears is expected to unlock access to new funding for the country.

Chinamasa said Zimbabwe had managed to obtain a cheaper loan to pay the World Bank debt of around 1.2 billion USD but wanted guarantees the country would in turn receive financial support from the institution after paying back its dues.

"We have expectations that when we clear the arrears, we should get new money into the economy," Chinamasa said, without disclosing the source of the loan.

"We have succeeded to mobilise a commercial loan which is cheaper than what the World Bank is now charging us (in terms of interest) and when we know what new money the World Bank will give us then we should be able to complete the transaction."

Chinamasa was in President Emmerson Mnangagwa's high profile delegation to attend the Africa CEO Forum, a high-level meeting of top decision makers and investors on the continent at which the country pushed its "Zimbabwe is Open for Business" agenda, to attract new investment.