dollars background agro summitThe Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has made a request for a US$500mn funding package with the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank), as part of efforts to resolve the foreign currency shortages affecting the economy, reports The Herald

In an interview with The Herald last week, RBZ governor Dr John Mangudy that the central bank was currently in the market, scouting for fresh lines of credit, and this included discussions that have been held with Afreximbank for $500mn funding.

The funding is required to fulfil external payments for raw materials or key industrial equipment and machinery, as well as fuel and medicines among others.

Apart from interventions towards alleviating Zimbabwe's private sector funding challenges, which is being done by institutions such as AfDB, the RBZ is also in the market either scouting for lines of credit or already negotiating support from institutions that have previously helped the country when it faced financial troubles, especially, the Afreximbank.

This comes after a high-powered delegation from the AfDB, which has extensive expertise in the areas of industrial manufacturing, agriculture, energy and financial services, visited the country last week to explore private sector's funding needs.

"We are also in the market, as you are aware; to continuously look for lines of credit to supplement our export (receipts) from gold, tobacco or from wherever so that at the end of the day the economy can continue to function," Dr. Mangudya said.

"We are finalising our loans commitments; Afreximbank has said they will give us $500mn, which we are still working on. We are also still working on other facilities, the PTA Bank is also assisting us," said Dr. Mangudya. Afreximbank, which has stood by Zimbabwe in greatest period of need, last year gave the country US$1.5bn.

Of that amount, $500mn was expected to enable Zimbabwean companies to meet their external payments obligations while the balance was to ring fence foreign investments. Most facilities extended by Afreximbank, where Dr. Mangudya once worked, are given at concessionary rates.