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Botswana offers Zimbabwe $600-mn to ease crisis: report

Johannesburg, South Africa | | February 28, 2019, Thursday @ 13:35 in World » AFRICA | By: AFP | Views: 720
Botswana offers Zimbabwe $600-mn to ease crisis: report

A man holds bond notes released by the Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe in Harare central business centre on November 28, 2016. Zimbabwe issues "bond notes" equivalent to the US dollar to ease critical cash shortages, the central bank announced despite widespread public fear of a return to hyperinflation. (Wilfred Kajese / AFP)

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(AFP) - Diamond-rich Botswana has offered to lend Zimbabwe nearly $600 million to help ease its economic crisis, Harare's state-owned daily The Herald reported Tuesday.

The loans will be offered to Zimbabwe's private sector and the diamond industry, said the report.

Zimbabwe's secretary for foreign affairs, James Manzou, unveiled the offer ahead of a visit to Harare by Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

"Zimbabwe welcomes with much appreciation that Botswana proposed a 1 billion Botswana pula ($94.5 million, 83.15 million euro) credit facility, in support of the Zimbabwe private sector," Manzou told the paper.

"Zimbabwe is also appreciative of the US$500 million diamond facility offered to it by Botswana," he said.

Manzou said the loans are expected to "support our economic recovery".

Zimbabwe descended into economic ruin during the 37-year rule of Robert Mugabe who was forced out in 2017.

His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to solve the crisis with the country running desperately short of foreign currency.

The deals are expected to be signed on Thursday during Masisi's visit to Harare.

The report did not give details about the loan, such as the repayment schedule and interest rate.

A request for $1.2 billion in emergency credit from neighbouring South Africa to help alleviate the crisis failed after Pretoria indicated it did not have the funds.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to visit Zimbabwe next month.

The leaders of both countries have recently called for sanctions still in force on some Zimbabwean leaders and institutions to be lifted.

Ramaphosa told reporters that lifting sanctions against Zimbabwe "would relieve the tension that is currently in the country".

The United States, the European Union and other states imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in response to Mugabe's various crackdowns during his long rule.

© Agence France-Presse

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