|Wikileaks:||View 02HARARE2192 at Wikileaks.org|
|Classification:||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
|Tags:||KHIV TBIO SOCI PGOV ZI|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002192 SIPDIS STATE FOR AF, AF/S, AF/EPS CDC FOR CDC/NCHSTP Eugene McCray, Gary West; CDC/OD Ross Cox, Steve Blount AID FOR Roxana Rogers, G/PHN/HN Paul DeLay, David Stantion; G/PHN/POP Mark Rilling, Carl Hawkins, Felice Apter; All HPNOs; AFR/SA Marjorie Copson; Anne Peterson, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health HHS FOR William Steiger SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KHIV, TBIO, SOCI, PGOV, ZI SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS AND MALARIA SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT SUITABLE FOR INTERNET POSTING. 1. (U) The US Embassy, HHS/CDC and USAID have had a series of discussions on coordinating the US Government response to the HIV and AIDS crisis in Zimbabwe. One of the current discussions and concerns has been the use of Global Fund for AIDS, TB, and Malaria (GFATM) monies in Zimbabwe. 2. (U) Over the last two years the GOZ has established a fixed exchange rate of ZW$55:US$1. This is an artificial exchange rate that does not correspond to the market value and has created a severe shortage of foreign currency. For example the current rate, (known as the "parallel market rate") which the US Government, most donors and the majority of import and export businesses use to exchange money, is approximately ZW$700:US$1. 3. (SBU) The GFATM has approved US $15m for Zimbabwe. However, we would have serious concerns if this money were brought into the country and exchanged at the fixed exchange rate, resulting in a loss of 90% of GFATM purchasing power. Due to the severe shortage of foreign exchange it is in the interest of certain elements of the GOZ to exchange at the fixed rate. 4. (U) As the largest contributor to the GFATM, it is in the interest of the USG and the GFATM to negotiate a favorable exchange rate. Two of the largest industries -- tobacco and the mining industry -- have negotiated higher rates. Even the GOZ Department of Customs and Excise is currently using an exchange rate of ZW$300:US$1 for import duty. The UN Representative in Zimbabwe very recently issued a memorandum directing the UN agencies to immediately begin accounting for ZW$ transfers at a rate of ZW$322:US$1. If any currency conversion occurs from the GFATM resources, it would be critical that a floor be established at this `UN accounting rate of exchange.' 5. (SBU) In the views of the US Mission and other international agencies in Zimbabwe, an even better solution exists than to exchange at an intermediate, `blended' rate such as the UN accounting rate of exchange. The optimal solution would be to re-program the grant resources to focus heavily or exclusively on critical international procurements of drugs, reagents, equipment, and the like. Those elements now are critical bottlenecks in the entire health system and the response to AIDS, TB, and malaria, and require foreign exchange. This would completely avoid the complex and politically charged issue of a preferable rate of exchange being provided to GFATM, while local manufacturers, farmers, and others are restricted to the official but economically meaningless ZW$55:US$1 rate. It would also achieve maximal efficiency and purchasing power of GFATM resources in Zimbabwe. 6. (SBU) However, and this is the key issue, the approach proposed in Paragraph 5 would require reprogramming the resources in the fund to allow GFATM to cover foreign exchange needs of Zimbabwe in its response to HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. The scope of work set out in the Zimbabwe application for GFATM calls for substantial work in country, such as training, workshops, local salaries, and many other elements that would require ZW$. CDC and USAID will suggest through the Zimbabwe Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) that Zimbabwe propose to meet those local currency costs principally from GOZ resources, since the government, including Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Council (NAC), do have access to local currency, or by recruiting other partners to help meet those local currency needs. The GFATM secretariat would need to understand and be supportive of such a redirection of Zimbabwe's GFATM grant resources to meet Zimbabwe's international procurement needs for the three diseases. It would be reasonable and advantageous if GFATM, in return for this flexibility, required special financial management from Zimbabwe, including holding the funds in a special trust fund and use of an experienced international procurement agency to manage procurements. 7. (U) We also suggest that GFATM tighten requirements for governance of the fund resources by the CCM, seek independent letters of description of the process of the CCM from listed CCM members, and make independent contact with international members of the CCM (not just the Chair) by visiting staff of GFATM. It would strongly support good governance of GFATM resources if GFATM secretariat strongly insisted on active CCM governance, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, that involves open and transparent deliberation and decision-making involving international partners. The effect of such an ongoing requirement by GFATM is not being experienced now at country level. There is no evidence of any duplicity or bad intention, but MOH (the Minister is Chair of CCM) understandably slides into business as usual if there is no external pressure to maintain an open, consultative, innovative approach that truly draws upon active involvement of international partners. 8. (U) The GFATM was established in response to a call for new and innovative ways to increase levels of funding and their impact on fighting three devastating diseases. But allowing the GOZ to exchange their grant funds at the fixed rate Zimbabwe will not be meeting the intent of the GFATM to have the maximum possible effect in combating these diseases. Zimbabwe is at the epicenter of the AIDS pandemic with a third of the population infected with HIV. A favorable exchange rate will provide substantially more prevention, care and support programs to those desperately in need. Re-allocation of grant funds to meet critical foreign exchange procurement requirements for battling AIDS, TB, and malaria would constitute an even more powerful use of resources, and would necessarily involve GOZ supplemental commitment to meeting the local currency needs of the activities described in the successful Zimbabwe application. 9. (U) We seek assistance from USG addressees and GF participants to assure that GFATM secretariat would support proposals from the Government of Zimbabwe to reprogram originally proposed use of GFATM grant, lest CDC and USAID waste time and lose credibility with technicians in the MOH and NAC of Zimbabwe by suggesting that they submit a revised proposal. SULLIVAN
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