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MEFMI has been providing technical assistance to develop a financial program for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) from 2015, and significant progress has been achieved. In the project, MEFMI works very closely with the USAID-Strategic Economic Research and Analysis (SERA) on funding, technical assistance, coordination and reporting.

The Financial Programming Group (FPG) comprises officials from RBZ, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and ZIMSTAT. In view of the cross cutting nature of the assignment, the final output will benefit the whole country. The officials involved have also greatly enhanced their skills in financial programming.

The Project was structured into five phases, of which three have been successfully implemented. Some of the achievements made so far by the FPG include the following:

•    First, the group has entered all relevant historical data;
•    Second, they have constructed a set of inter-account links where they have compared data from two different accounts in a systematic fashion for consistency;
•    Third, they have made substantial progress in the process of eliminating the inter-account data inconsistencies;
•    Fourth, they have formulated a set of recommendations outlining steps to improve the Zimbabwe macroeconomic dataset;
•    Fifth, they have constructed a first version of a general government account (including central and local government transactions, as well as some additional transactions, undertaken, for example those undertaken by universities); and
•    Sixth, they have made substantial improvement on the baseline scenario, the first two versions of which were constructed during the March and September 2015 workshops.
The baseline is now at a point where methods and techniques for forecasting individual items, proxy relationships and cross-account links have been developed and are deemed adequate, even though there will always be some scope for improvement. The main remaining issue is the iterative process and the economic interpretation of the results.
A revised Aide Memoire, highlighting the key achievements and the critical steps that need to be accomplished by the Zimbabwe FPG to finalise the program and key data inconsistencies to be harmonized, as identified by the group will be shared with the authorities to be addressed to improve data consistency across the four macroeconomic accounts in Zimbabwe. It is expected that support by the authorities in resolving the identified data inconsistencies will enable the Group to establish a relevant tool for consistent macroeconomic management.

With the expected consultations and approval by the authorities, MEFMI envisages an official launch of the Financial Program in August 2016. MEFMI would like to thank all the stakeholders for their support in this important capacity building activity.