DESPITE President Robert Mugabe’s hostile stance towards western countries, European development organisations and the United States, the Zimbabwean government has been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid from such countries and institutions, the mid-term fiscal policy Statement presented by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa two weeks ago reveals.
Mugabe has been publicly chastising western countries, accusing them of, among other things, interfering in the country’s domestic affairs and imposing sanctions on the country — a move he says is to blame for the economic problems that have been haunting Zimbabwe for well over a decade.
Mugabe recently threatened to expel United States and British ambassadors for allegedly sponsoring vendors to resist their relocation from the Harare city centre.
Notwithstanding strained political relations, the United States is a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, providing more than US$150 million in humanitarian assistance in recent years, much of which was food aid in 2012.
According to figures in the fiscal statement the National Indicative Programme (NIP) signed by the European Union and Zimbabwe will see €234 million being dispersed to the country under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for the period 2014 to 2020.
The NIP is programmed to fund key sectors such as health (€88 million), agriculture based-economic development (€88 million), governance and institution building (€45 million), national authorising office (€3 million), technical cooperation facility(€4 million) and civil society (€6 million).
Chinamasa said the country has so far benefited from an interim bridging facility amounting to €34 million, which has been distributed to the Health Development Fund, demographic health survey, agriculture sector, constitutional alignment, judiciary support and parliamentary support.
Part of the funds were also allocated to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Government has submitted the 2015 annual action plan for projects amounting to €89 million to be undertaken this year.
“The plan was approved by the European Development Fund Committee on 9 July 2015, and now awaits the passing of the financial decision by the EU, which is expected by September 2015,” Chinamasa said.
“Once the financial decision is passed, Government will sign the financing agreements with the EU, paving way for financial disbursements to the relevant implementing entities thereafter.
“This would bring total EDF commitments for 2015 to €123 million or 52,6% of the total 11th EDF Budget of €234 million.”
The Royal Danish Government is supporting the construction and rehabilitation of 13 court houses this year at a cost of US$11,5 million across the country. To date, US$7,8 million has been disbursed.
This support was channelled towards construction of 12 court houses set to be complete by year end in Beitbridge, Chivi, Rutenga, Binga, Nkayi, Victoria Falls, Mvuma, Shurugwi, Zvishavane, Bindura, Goromonzi and Murambinda.
Zimbabwe is also benefiting under the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund (Zimref) which runs until 2019.
The fund has pledges amounting to US$36,5 million, of which US$11,5 million has been disbursed into the World Bank account.
The funders are the European Union which has made available €10 million, Sweden (US$5 million), Norway (US$4,3 million), State and Peace Building Trust Fund (US$5 million), Denmark (US$1 million), Germany (US$1 million) and the Department for International Development (£6 million).
Key projects being funded this year by Zimref are the Zimbabwe National Water project to the tune of US$20 million, public financial management enhancement project (US$20 million), business environment enabling programme (US$4 million) and parastatal reform support (US$6 million.).
Other schemes to benefit from the fund are productive safety nets project, results-based budgeting, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, procurement reform programme, health systems strengthening, agri-business and the education sector.