World Bank President Robert Zoellick told reporters Zimbabwe’s new finance minister, Tendai Biti, would attend the spring meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund next week.

mugabe“One, we would certainly like to (assist Zimbabwe). We had early missions with the African Development Bank to try and better understand the economic challenges in Zimbabwe,” said Zoellick.

“At the Spring meetings next week, the new Zimbabwe minister of finance, he will be coming and meeting with colleagues to review the overall situation. Part of it would have to develop the economic reform plan that can get the support of donors.”

Zimbabwe’s economy is in ruins with unemployment at around 90 percent and millions in need of food aid. After years of hyperinflation, prices are falling after the government allowed the use of hard currency and abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar.

Zimbabwe defaulted on its foreign debt, and policy differences with President Robert Mugabe’s government, including the often violent seizure of white-owned farms for the resettlement of landless blacks, forced the IMF and foreign donors to withhold vital aid.

Action by the World Bank could provide a major boost to help Zimbabwe restore its economy.

Zoellick earlier announced a $1.2 billion debt buyback program for Liberia that has allowed the West African nation to cut its foreign debt to $1.7 billion, a major step toward normalizing relations with the investment community.



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