The Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund has to date received pledges amounting to over $40,4 million from donors aimed at strengthening the country’s systems for reconstruction, development and poverty alleviation.
At the beginning of 2016, contributing donors for the Fund comprised of Denmark, European Union, Norway, the State and Peace Building Fund, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Of these donors, Denmark closed operations in Zimbabwe as part of a regional reorganisation of their portfolio and exited Zimref by June 30, 2016.
The fund which is expected to run until end of December 2019 is a country-specific umbrella type Multi-Donor Trust Fund approved by the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank in May 2014.
“The development objective of Zimref is to contribute in the strengthening of Zimbabwe’s systems for reconstruction and development with a focus on stabilization, development and poverty alleviation.
“Zimref has remained the key instrument for implementing the World Bank’s Third Interim Strategy note for Zimbabwe and for supporting the implementation of Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation,” said Zimref.
Out of the pledges made, $39,4 million has been signed through Administrative Agreements and $27,5 million has been paid into the Fund by the contributing donors.
Zimref said a total of $2,1 million was paid in by the donors in 2016. The fund approved eight projects and programmes amounting to about $61,4 million.
These eight projects comprise of five Bank-executed Technical Assistance programmes amounting to $14,4 million and three Recipient-executed projects amounting to $43,2 million, with the balance earmarked for corporate fees and programme management costs.
Zimref said there is still a funding gap of $21 million for pipeline activities (including second phases of the National Water Project, Public Procurement Modernisation Project and the Public Financial Management enhancement project).
Out of the available funding $22 million was allocated to the Recipient-executed projects until further resources are mobilised.
By the end of 2016, Zimref disbursements stood at $4,9 million reflecting an initially slow place of implementation as recipient-executed projects and large bank-executed TA programs were contracted.
By December 31, 2016 all TA and RE activities were at various stages of implementation. Grant agreements for the National Water Project and Public Financial Management Enhancement Project were signed on February 3, 2016 and May 4, 2016 respectively.
The National Water Project became effective on June 16, 2016 and PFM Enhancement Project on June 24, 2016.
“Progress in the implementation of these Recipient-executed activities was fairly slow initially due to delays by the relevant recipients in achieving grant effectiveness conditions.
“Despite the expected learning curve, project implementation remained slow in the first six months for the recipient executed projects,” said Zimref.