The government of Zimbabwe has agreed to contribute the minimum US$7.5mn of equity capital needed to join the African Trade Insurance agency (ATI), but doubts linger over the country’s capacity to raise funds.

In a statement to GTR, CEO of the ATI, George Otieno, confirms that the Zimbabwean government has begun the ratification process of the agency’s treaty and that the agency hopes it will be able to support the country going forward.

“Given Zimbabwe’s well-documented liquidity challenges, it is a positive sign that they are engaging with potential financiers outside the usual donor framework,” Otieno tells GTR. “If they are able to raise the funds, we stand ready to support eligible transactions in the country.”

The Zimbabwean minister for commerce, Mike Bimha, has reportedly announced that the government has opened negotiations with regional financiers to raise the capital necessary for ATI membership. He said that ATI accreditation would help address some of the challenges affecting investment flows into Zimbabwe and provide a platform for SMEs to trade with other ATI member-economies.

Otieno tells GTR that, in this instance, the ATI is not privy to the details of Zimbabwe’s funding discussions.

“Typically countries go down the World Bank route for funding their membership fee into ATI, through the International Development Association (IDA), which is the bank’s concessionary lending window,” he said. “This would be arranged in co-operation with the World Bank as a set aside in the country’s aid package.”