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Donors spurn Zim Transfrontier Park

Staff Writer

DONORS are withholding funds for the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park until Zimbabwe restores the rule of law, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.



ana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Highly-placed sources involved in the park said the World Bank, European Union and conservation groups have refused to fund the Zimbabwean component of the huge conservation project in protest against the lawlessness in Zimbabwe.


Sources said the donors have said they are withholding funds until government removes people who invaded Gonarezhou National Park, which is part of the project, in 2000. Without foreign currency reserves, Zimbabwe has not been able to develop new infrastructure urgently needed for the megapark.


“Huge amounts of money have started pouring into South Africa and Mozambique for the development of infrastructure agreed when the trans-frontier park agreement was signed,” sources said.


The transfrontier park is made up of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe, and Gaza in Mozambique. On completion, the park will occupy 3,6 million hectares.


The Independent understands that Germany has already donated five million euros to both South Africa and Mozambique for infrastructure developments but flatly refused to bankroll the Zimbabwean side. Many other donors are reported to have responded positively to the two countries but Zimbabwe has been left out.


Among the major infrastructural developments needed, Zimbabwe had agreed to construct a bridge across the Limpopo. It had also undertaken to refurbish and build lodges and chalets at selected sites in Gonarezhou.


It was not possible to obtain comment from Environment and Tourism minister Francis Nhema yesterday as he was not answering his phone.

Zimbabwe fell out with the donor community when Zanu PF supporters violently grabbed farms from white commercial farmers five years ago. The rift widened when the invaders occupied national parks, conservancies and campfire projects with government endorsing the invasions.


The Independent understands that government has resettled about 750 families on 11 000 hectares inside Gonarezhou. People have also invaded conservancies such as Save, Malilangwe and Bubianna as well as Mungwezi.

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