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Murerwa backs Nepad despite reservations

Ngoni Chanakira

The Minister of Finance and Eco-nomic Development Herbert Murerwa yesterday said Zimbabwe supported the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) but had dif

ficulties with some aspects of the programme.

He however, did not point out the “aspects” of concern to government.

The Nepad programme, spearheaded by South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki, has been downplayed in Zimbabwe, with politicians saying it was “too foreign”.

Zanu PF politicians have said the programme was driven by the IMF and World Bank.

Addressing business executives gathered in Harare for a breakfast meeting, Murerwa said: “We support Nepad despite what is being said in various publications. The difficulties are in some aspects of the programme. It was born out of the African Union of which we are a member.”

The promoters of Nepad include Mbeki and Nigeria’s General Olusegun Obasanjo.

Murerwa said South Africa was now “very worried about the situation in Zimbabwe” because it was having ripple effects on their country’s economy.

Zimbabweans are trekking down south in search of greener pastures because there are few job opportunities at home.

Inflation, which is at 269,2%, is the highest in the region, while that of South Africa stands at 11,2%.

Zimbabwe also has very high domestic and foreign debts, which have resulted in projects being abandoned, and workers sent home.

The unemployment rate currently stands at more than 75%.

Murerwa said: “The impact of the instability in Zimbabwe is causing concern in South Africa. Trade has declined in relation to volumes, but not in critical mass. Even Mozambique now has much higher trade figures than us.”

He said exports to South Africa had dwindled and would continue to do so as long as there was “low production” in the country.

“We support Nepad,” Murerwa said. “We will continue discussing with other African leaders on how best to improve on it.”

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