Zimbabwe, saddled with a USD3.8 billion external debt, has asked the assistance of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in clearing the debt, bank Vice President of Operations Aloysius Ordu told a press conference in Harare. He said the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative would be the best option for Zimbabwe to clear its debt overhang as it would help Zimbabwe to unlock lines of credit and attract investment to rebuild infrastructure and improve social services in the country. "There is a huge opportunity cost Zimbabwe is suffering as a result of the stifling debt. Without the debt overhang we would be growing by 15 percent annually," Finance Minister Tendai Biti told reporters. Biti said while there were divergent views on the debt clearance strategy, seeking HIPC status - which would require sweeping reforms and setting firm performance targets - was the best option. Biti added that the government would make a ‘bold' decision on the matter within the first quarter of 2010. (Reuters, Xinhua)

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