ZIMBABWE should re-open dialogue with bilateral and multilateral donors to assist the country’s economic recovery, outgoing United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Vi
ctor Angelo has said.
In an interview this week, Angelo said Zimbabwe had the potential to recover but badly needed new money.
“The country is in a much better position than most African countries to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals,” said Angelo.
“I believe that the country will make it but it has to renew relations with international organisations like the IMF and the World Bank. The country needs developmental assistance,” he said.
“This can be established through dialogue… Everything depends on the quality of the dialogue. It is a question of goodwill. Zimbabwe does not have to agree with donors on everything but there are areas of common concern,” he said.
He said apart from developmental aid, the country should also position itself as an investment destination.
“It is not just a question of mobilising external resources and getting developmental aid but investment too. That is more long-term and important.”
He however said it was crucial to sort out the internal politics first, which have largely remained unattractive to investors. He said one way of achieving this was a free and fair election next year.
“It would be rewarding if Zimbabwe can organise the electoral process in a way that is acceptable to all Zimbabweans. The elections have to meet criteria that were agreed by Sadc states,” he said.
He said a proper assessment was required for Zimbabwe’s humanitarian needs, but that it was up to government to prioritise its needs. The UNDP has been critical in mobilising humanitarian assistance for Zimbabwe. This year the assistance shifted from food to health provision and other social services.
“I believe next year’s programme should put emphasis on HIV/Aids and its social consequences such as vulnerability of orphans,” he said.
“There must also be recovery in the rural areas by bringing up production through (provision of) inputs. Infrastructure such as schools and clinics are important in these areas,” he said.
But this required external support, he added. “The country needs external resources. They will not come in the way of Zimbabwe if there is no dialogue with those who provide the resources,” he said.
Angelo will next week take up a new posting in Sierra Leone as a special representative of the United National secretary-general Kofi Annan responsible for peace building in the volatile country.