Zimref pledges remain flat at $40.4m in 2016
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (Zimref) said it has received pledges of $40.4 million since its establishment in 2014 and this remained the same during 2016. Of the total pledges, only $27.5 million were received by the Fund.
Countries that contributed include Norway (about $4,1 million), Sweden ($5 million) Switzerland ($1,7 million), State and Peace Building Fund ($5 million), United Kingdom ($5,3 million), Denmark ($1 million) and European Union ($5,4 million).
Zimref is a country-specific umbrella type multi-donour trust fund approved by the World Bank to contribute to the strengthening of Zimbabwe’s systems for reconstruction and development with a focus on stabilisation and reform, reconstruction, development and poverty alleviation. The fund is said to be instrumental in the implementation of the World Bank’s Interim Strategy Note for Zimbabwe and supporting the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.
However, given how the funds are flowing in dribs and drabs and how some of the projects are moving at snail pace, it might take time for the country to fully benefit from the project.
Of the $27.5 million received, $18.8 million was allocated across the eight projects, with the remaining balance awaiting further allocations for planned activities on a need basis. The eight projects that have been approved however require a total of $61.4 million.
“There is still a funding gap of $21 million for pipeline activities. Out of the available funding, $22 million was allocated to recipient-executed projects until further resources are mobilised”, said Zetref in its 2016 annual report.
Some of the outputs that have been delivered include the implementation of doing business reforms, building credit and capital markets infrastructure and reforming investment policies. Other deliverables also lie under different programmes such as the Capital Budgets Technical Assistance Programme, Public Financial Management Enhance Project, Public Procurement Modernisation Enhancement Project and others.
By the end of 2016, the projects were at various stages of implementation. “Grant agreements for the National Water Project and Public Financial Management Enhancement Project were signed on February 3, 2016and May 4, 2016 respectively. The National Water Project became effective on June 16, 2016 and PFM Enhancement Project on June 24, 2016. Progressing the implementation of these Recipient-executed activities was fairly slow initially due to delays by the relevant recipients in achieving grant effectiveness conditions”, said the report.
Zetref says key implementation lessons from 2016 include the importance of government-led donor coordination as donour programes move toward more government-aligned or government executed activities. Also amongst the key lessons is “the need for very close dialogue between the Government and development partners on the evolving political economy and the opportunities or challenges it presents for policy and institutional reforms”.
Zimref’s initial donors included Denmark, the European Union, Germany, Norway, the State and Peace Building Fund, Sweden, Switzerland and UK. However, Denmark pulled out of the fund at the end of June last year