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Zim left out of US fund

Loughty Dube

ZIMBABWE has been left out of a lucrative United States fund that would see about 63 countries worldwide share billions of dollars in US aid to developing nations committed to democratic princip

les.


US Secretary of State Collin Powell announced the list of 63 beneficiary nations in Washington on Tuesday after a meeting of the board of directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a body formed last year to administer the fund.


Some of the countries named by Powell include Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Lesotho, Malawi, Pakistan, Zambia, India, Tanzania, Afghanistan and Congo.


Zimbabwe has not benefited from several international aid and development funds since the disputed March 2002 presidential poll.

Following the poll, the European Union and the United States government imposed targeted sanctions on senior Zanu PF officials and their collaborators.


The US has availed over US$1 billion dollars for the 2004 fiscal year under the fund while President George Bush has pledged a further US $2,5 billion for the account in 2005.


The majority of the 63 states named by Powell can bid for funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (2004) and most applicants are likely to benefit in areas of agricultural development, enterprise and private-sector development, health, trade and investment-capacity building.


The fund is intended to benefit developing countries that demonstrate a strong commitment towards good governance and sound economic policies.


The US also left out Zimbabwe from a list of 37 African countries that would benefit under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) meant to enhance trade between the US and African countries.

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