Zimbabwe owes at least $196 million to several airlines that it can’t pay because it doesn’t have enough foreign currency in circulation, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has said.
Regional vice president for Iata in Africa, Muhammad Ali Albakri, told Bloomberg that the last time an airline received any payment from the cash-strapped country was in January.
In an effort to address the interests of its members, Iata called a meeting with Zimbabwean minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Details of the meeting’s outcome were unavailable at the time of going to press but what is certain is that since the country’s Central Bank announced banning all forex from street circulation, replacing it instead with the hyper-inflated Zim dollar, the country’s currency crunch is clear for all to see.
Yesterday FTW Online reported that Mnangagwa had used an African Union summit in Niger to plead with President Cyril Ramaphosa to save Zimbabwe’s grid from collapsing after it emerged that Eskom was about to cut electricity supply to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.
With news now coming to the fore that Zimbabwean non-payment is resulting in pressure from several sources, it seems to be a matter of time before Mnangagwa’s government asks for a substantial bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
But the IMF recently indicated that fundamental policy changes would be required in the way Zimbabwe runs its sovereign affairs before any further IMF funding can be expected.