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Zimbabwe: Second Review Under the Staff-Monitor Program-Press Release; and Staff Report - INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

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Context: The authorities have demonstrated their commitment to the program by taking important steps towards advancing their macroeconomic and structural reforms, despite increasing economic and financial difficulties. The policy reform agenda for the remainder of the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) consists of: (a) mitigating the impact of this year's adverse shocks on the external position and growth; (b) improving the investment climate; (c) restoring confidence in the financial sector; and (d) garnering support for a strategy to clear arrears to the international financial institutions (IFIs). Recent developments, outlook, and risks: Zimbabwe's economic and financial conditions remain difficult because of inadequate external inflows given the arrears situation, low commodity prices which have kept liquidity conditions tight, and an appreciating U.S. dollar. Growth has slowed, unemployment is rising and increasingly there is a shift in economic activity to the informal sector. The external position remains precarious with very low levels of international reserves, and the country is in debt distress. Risks to the outlook stem mainly from fiscal challenges, weak global commodity prices, adverse weather conditions, and policy implementation in a difficult political environment. However, further advancing the reforms and reengaging with creditors could reopen Zimbabwe's access to financial support that could reverse the adverse economic trend and lift the economic outlook. Program performance: The program is on track. Four of the five quantitative targets for end-June 2015, and all the structural benchmarks for the second review were met. Although a recently contracted $200 million nonconcessional loan breached the quantitative target on nonconcessional borrowing, it avoided the accumulation of additional external arrears. The authorities have made significant progress in implementing their reform agenda, particularly in financial sector and labor-market reforms. They are starting to take steps to rationalize public expenditure and reduce public sector employment costs. The authorities continue to see the SMP as a crucial tool in building a track record toward normalizing relations with creditors and addressing Zimbabwe's deep seated structural issues. Reengagement with creditors: The authorities have intensified their reengagement with the international community, with the immediate objective of resolving arrears with the IFIs, and eventually seeking debt rescheduling under the umbrella of the Paris Club. To this end, they have developed a strategy for clearing Zimbabwe's external arrears to IFIs, for which they intend to seek the support of creditors and development partners at a meeting on the sidelines of the 2015 annual meetings in Lima, Peru. Strong support from the Lima meeting, successful completion of the SMP and continued commitment by the authorities would set the stage for advancing the reengagement process with the IFIs and bilateral creditors.

Illustration: N
Language: ENG
Title: Zimbabwe: Second Review Under the Staff-Monitor Program-Press Release; and Staff Report
Pages: 00039 (Encrypted EPUB) / 00039 (Encrypted PDF)
On Sale: 2015-10-08
SKU-13/ISBN: 9781513576688
Category: Political Science : Public Policy - Economic Policy
Category: Business & Economics : International - Economics
Category: Business & Economics : Money & Monetary Policy

(ID 278850038)

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