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Breakfree Newsletter
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)
November 11, 2010

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Activists launch Debtweek in Zimbabwe

ZIMCODD commemorated the inaugural Debtweek in Zimbabwe from 7 to 9 October with the theme, "Responsible Lending and Borrowing to Guarantee People's Social and Economic Rights". Debtweek otherwise known as the annual 'Global Week on Debt and IFIs' is a week of citizens' actions and mobilisations worldwide, around the issue of unsustainable public debt and its negative impacts on the citizens and economies of poor countries globally.

The coalition lined up a number of activities to take place in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare which include public lectures, community theatre and live music themed on debt. The highlight was a public concert held in the Harare Gardens on 9 October. According to ZIMCODD's Director, Dakarayi Matanga, the coalition's objective in launching Debtweek is to use public participation to highlight the social and economic effects of unsustainable public debt. ZIMCODD hopes that the commemoration will magnify calls for an official audit of the Zimbabwe debt, appeals for debt cancellation from creditors and highlight the need for reform of existing borrowing and lending policies. The coalition also linked up with diverse groups in civil society to petition creditors and the government with recommendations on how the problems should be dealt with, from a people's perspective. Like minded CSOs based in creditor nations launched their own complimentary campaigns on the Zimbabwe debt.

ZIMCODD says that reports that Zimbabwe cannot move forward if it does not deal urgently and effectively with its external debt are distressing for citizens who are desperate for a new beginning. Analysts have projected the country's external debt to grow to US$7,6 billion by end of 2010. Domestic debt will increase to US$1 billion in the same period. This brings the total debt to US$8,6 billion, or almost three times the country's current GDP of US$3,5 billion. IMF projections on the other hand see the debt growing to US$9,8 billion by 2015. Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance says US$45 billion is required to get the country back to its peak level of 1996-97. The country cannot generate all these resources internally in the short term and the government is therefore seeking external funding.

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