/ 2 March 2009

Motlanthe: SA considers credit lines for Zim

South Africa is considering granting credit lines for neighbouring Zimbabwe, President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Monday. He said this would have positive knock-ons for the local economy.

Zimbabwe’s new Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week asked neighbouring countries for $2-billion in aid but has so far received no firm commitments.

“What they are really asking for are credit lines and, of course, as South Africa we have to consider that favourably because it means their traders, their business people in terms of economic recovery will be buying whatever they need from South Africa,” Motlanthe told AFP.

“That is one positive element of the response that is required,” Motlanthe said on the sidelines of a socialist conference on sustainable development held outside Cape Town.

Motlanthe said regional finance ministers, who met in South Africa last week, had yet to present figures detailing how the region could assist its stricken neighbour.

Zimbabwe’s increasingly desperate financial conditions prompted the Southern African Development Community to call an extraordinary summit to deal with the country’s proposals on how to rebuild its ravaged economy.

The summit is likely to be held in South Africa before the Group of 20 summit in London on April 2.

Western donors say they will not lend money to Zimbabwe or lift sanctions against Robert Mugabe until the 85-year-old Zanu-PF leader proves he is willing to reform and work with arch-rival Tsvangirai in the new unity government.

The power-sharing deal was implemented in February after nearly a year of political crisis following disputed elections last March in which Tsvangirai failed to win an outright majority over Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980. — AFP