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Zimbabwe’s finance minister in new attempt to get loans from S Africa

FRESH from being politely denied a bailout by South Africa’s government just a fortnight ago, Zimbabwean finance minister Mthuli Ncube said he had approached private investors in South Africa to inject funds into his country’s cash-starved economy.

Ncube was in South Africa this week and met private investors in Johannesburg.

Speaking after a cabinet briefing in Harare on Wednesday, Ncube confirmed that he presented ‘the begging bowl’ to South African investors during his visit on Monday and Tuesday.

He told the Business Day newspaper that Zimbabwe was negotiating loan facilities to recapitalise companies. He had targeted companies with existing ties to Zimbabwean firms.

‘The idea is to give capacity to our companies to source  equipment from South African companies using resources from there. That is the nature of the loans we are negotiating.

‘So I had gone to drum up support for that and we will be updated as we go along, in regards to that. We are targeting companies that have relationships with SA companies, in terms of procurement of imports and exports’ he said.

The Zimbabwean government was in a position to guarantee any loans taken up under the facility, Ncube said.

Some of the targeted investors included banks, insurance companies and private investors.

‘It’s quite a spread of investors and we hope that they can join us in this drive. I was able to meet some of the investors in Johannesburg and  video conferenced with others  in Cape Town and Durban.’

Ncube said his latest visit to the country was a follow-up to the recently held South Africa-Zimbabwe Binational Commission, where the two governments agreed to boost mutually beneficial trade.

At the commission, held in Harare a fortnight ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that his government would not immediately release funds to Zimbabwe, but noted that ‘discussions are ongoing.’

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