HARARE: THE European Union’s provision of a US$270 million to Zimbabwe is seen as signaling the end of frosty relations between the regional bloc and the Southern African country.
Monday’s inking of multi-million dollar aid was meant for improving agriculture, health and development of governance structures, which will be financed through National Indicative Programme (NIP).
The joint partnership is also aimed at ensuring success of projects funded by the EU without funds disappearing as is the case with many African governments when dealing with donor funds.
Addressing media, EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, said the new move was aimed at fostering both political and economic reforms Zimbabwe has undertaken.
“A fruitful political and policy dialogue should underpin our cooperation. We have made an important step in our cooperation with Zimbabwe.
“We look forward to work in all the strategic and important areas covered by this National Indicative Programme, with the aim to foster the political and economic reforms Zimbabwe is undertaking,” Van Damme said.
Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, Willard Manungo, who represented Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, welcomed the new move by EU.
“The EU support will go a long way in complementing government’s efforts in providing an enabling environment for sustainable economic empowerment and social transformation to the people of Zimbabwe, as we implement ZIM-ASSET,” Manungo said.
He said the Zimbabwean government was committed to full re-engagement with the EU in the full implementation of the 11th EDF. The normalisation of EU / Harare relations follows the lifting of economic and travel sanctions against most members of the ruling ZANU (PF) party and aligned officials and companies.
Relations between Zimbabwe and EU were on ice since 2000 following Harare’s confiscation of white owned farms and questionable human rights record.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY