Zimbabwe’s cooperating partners have come to the rescue with support in key areas of the economy to fill the void left by the cash-strapped government.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
The government is struggling to finance various projects as the bulk of its revenue is chewed by salaries for the bludgeoning civil service.
The United States and United Kingdom have to date provided close to $1,5 billion to different economic structures since 2002.
US and British development agencies USAID and the Department for International Development (DFID) respectively, have been supporting education, agricultural, health, small-to-medium enterprises and providing food security to the economy.
Recently, USAID and DFID made a joint contribution of $43 million that will provide food and cash to over 650 000 individuals in 29 districts across Zimbabwe.
DFID head Annabel Gerry said Zimbabwe remained a high priority country for the British government.
“DFID Zimbabwe will prioritise economic development activities that benefit the poorest people by scaling up existing programmes in the areas of business advocacy, agricultural productivity and market development,” Gerry said.
“DFID funds a business plan competition, targeting medium-sized agri-businesses that engage small-scale farmers.
“To date, 23 winners have received seed capital of up to $50 000 along with business advice to implement their innovation ideas.
“Through DFID’s funding to microfinance institutions, 27 476 loans have been disbursed, mainly to the retail and agribusiness sector.”
In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zimbabwe was getting support from development partners in response to the re-engagement efforts currently being undertaken by government with cooperating partners.
Last year, the African Development Bank board approved a $107,9 million facility for power and water rehabilitation.
Of that amount, $94 million is for infrastructure, targeting the power sector ($54,4 million) and $39,6 million for water and sanitation.
The European Union is giving Zimbabwe €234 million through the National Indicative Programme under the 11th European Development Fund for support in health, agriculture, governance, national authorising offices and civil society. The programme runs from 2014 to 2020.
At a recent high-level debate on aid held in Harare, USAID mission director Stephanie Funk said aid had helped many sectors of the economy as governed by their development model.
Funk said USAID invests directly in local institutions, the private sector and civic groups so that the institutions become stronger than the individuals who lead them and to be sustainable beyond that leadership.
“Our current development model emphasises local ownership, innovation, building partnerships with the private sector and other non-traditional partners, and empowering young people.
“At the core of this model is building resilient societies that can realise their potential and also withstand future shocks,” Funk said.
In 2010, a group of donors formed a fund, Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (Zim Fund) to help the economy out of the woods.
The fund targets infrastructure rehabilitation, water and sanitation.
Zim Fund rehabilitated infrastructure and restored basic services in water and sanitation initially in six municipalities (Harare, Chitungwiza, Chegutu, Kwekwe, Masvingo and Mutare) and energy throughout the country.
The $125 million fund is administered by the AfDB. Donors have also combined forces to finance a programme to strengthen Zimbabwe’s reconstruction and development.
The programme, Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund, has so far raised half of the proposed $100 million which will focus on stabilisation and reform and poverty alleviation efforts.
The programme runs from 2014 to 2019.