China Accuses Zimbabwe of Underestimating Financial Support | Business and Economy
Zimbabwe says China’s donor funding was only $ 3.6 million from January to September, while Beijing says it exceeded $ 136 million.
China on Tuesday accused Zimbabwe of underestimating its financial aid to the southern African country, after budget figures released last week showed major ally Beijing ranked low on the donor list. aliens from Harare.
Zimbabwean authorities have a habit of quietly accumulating external debt without parliamentary approval, and the funding gap has led critics of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to question whether it is hiding numbers or whether it is hiding any numbers. just made an accounting mistake.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of its worst economic crisis in a decade. Added to the pain was a severe drought that triggered food shortages and continued power cuts.
In August, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate reached 300 percent – the highest in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Wages have stagnated while the prices of basic necessities such as food and fuel have skyrocketed. Cash shortages – a problem for years – have worsened and foreign currency is hard to come by.
The litany of financial blows makes life unbearable for the majority of the country’s 15 million inhabitants.
In the absence of funding from lenders like the IMF and the World Bank, China has over the years become a major financier of projects in Zimbabwe, including water and power infrastructure through the China Export Bank and import.
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said in a budget statement Thursday that the country received $ 194 million from bilateral donors between January and September, with most of the money coming from Western countries.
He said China had provided $ 3.6 million, a figure that has been criticized as paltry by opponents of the Mnangagwa government, which considers Beijing an “all-time friend.”
The Chinese embassy in Harare disputed this figure, saying in a statement: “It is very different from the situation on the ground.”
The embassy said its records showed bilateral financial support to Zimbabwe to be much larger, at $ 136.8 million between January and September. The figure excludes donations to vulnerable groups, the embassy said.
“The embassy wants the relevant departments of the Zimbabwean government to make comprehensive assessments on bilateral support statistics and accurately reflect its actual situation when formulating the budget statement,” the embassy said in a terse statement.
Zimbabwe’s finance ministry spokesman Clive Maphambela could not immediately comment on the discrepancy.