Zimbabwe paid US$44.2 million to foreign creditors during the nine months to September, as part of its refreshed debt repayment plan.

The data released by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube in his annual debt analysis showed that Zimbabwe’s external debt increased to US$13.7 billion during the period.

But at this rate of settlement, it could take Harare over 300 years to pay off the mounting debts and interest.

Harare’s unsettled debt to international lenders was estimated at US$10.7 billion early this year.

Big global lenders have turned their backs on Zimbabwe citing the Southern African country’s inability to service existing commitments.

But Ncube revealed in July that he would be fighting to demonstrate the government’s commitment to pay debts through token payments.

Ncube said in the paper that the US$44 million was paid to active portfolios, international financial institutions (IFIs) and Paris Club creditors. He said:

Payments for the active portfolios are critical in unlocking disbursements for ongoing projects.

Most of the payments were wired to China Eximbank, which received US$15 million.

Settlements to Arab Bank of Economic Development in Africa amounted to US$11.7 million followed by Sinosure, which received US$6 million and India Eximbank, which was paid US$2.7 million.

The World Bank got a token payment of US$3 million while the Paris Club bloc received a combined US$1.6 million, in addition to US$1.5 million which was paid to the African Development Bank.

Most of these institutions are owed over US$1 billion.

Zimbabwe had defaulted since 2001, after falling into an economic crisis, which saw inflation hitting a record 231 million per cent in 2008, as per official statistics.

Speaking during an economic review webinar hosted by the Zimbabwe Independent in July, Ncube said his plan was to demonstrate goodwill to the powerful economies before kicking off full-scale payments.