By Golden Sibanda
AGRIBANK, a State agriculture development bank, says Zimbabwe’s near and medium term prospects look good on the back of Government’s efforts to improve ease of doing business and measures to attract foreign investment.
The bank argues these measures are projected to yield positive results for the economy.
Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa, recently revised his projected economic growth rate to 6 percent this year, faster than the initial national budget projection of 4,5 percent, largely driven by mining, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
The economy’s growth momentum has also benefited from confidence that has set in since President Mnangagwa took over in November last year and this saw the Zimbabwe Investment Authority approving $17 billion investment proposals.
Chief executive Sam Malaba said last week that re-engagement with the international community will assist the bank in its efforts to court a strategic partner for both equity and debt participation. This comes after President Mnangagwa, during his inauguration speech, said successful realisation of the shared Vision 2030, will require concerted and the disciplined implementation of radical economic reforms targeted at attracting and facilitating foreign and domestic investments in line with the reality that “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
Furthermore, he said necessary steps will be taken to create fiscal space through rationalization and cost cutting measures, with budget deficit forecast at $672 million this year.
Mr Malaba said recovery of the economy will be anchored on agriculture, which Agribank is mandated to support and has lined up a number of balance sheet, off-balance sheet and offshore funding facilities.
“Economic recovery and growth are anchored on the agriculture sector and the bank is excited as this dovetails with its core mandate of agricultural support,” Mr Malaba said.
He made the remarks while presenting a solid set of results for the bank for the interim to June 30. During the period to June 30, 2018 Agribank registered a 90 percent growth in profitability to $4,1 million driven by growth in non-funded income and productive loans to the agriculture sector.