Zimbabwe gets $270mln EU development aid

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    HARARE, – The European Union (EU) has given Zimbabwe $270 million in development assistance after lifting a 12 year embargo on the provision of direct financial support to the southern African state’s government, the bloc said on Monday.

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    Zimbabwe gets $270mln EU development aid

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    The funds will mostly go towards funding agriculture, health and institutional building.

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    Relations between Harare and the EU have been frosty since the bloc imposed sanctions on President Robert Mugabe, his inner circle and selected firms in 2002 over alleged rights abuses.

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    The bloc has gradually eased the sanctions since 2009 when the veteran ruler agreed to share power with the opposition after a disputed 2008 poll, and has continued to improve ties despite yet another controversial election in 2013 which extended Mugabe’s 34 year-old rule.

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    The EU eventually lifted the blockade in November last year, but maintains a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his wife as well as an arms embargo, which will be reviewed this month.

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    Head of the EU delegation to Zimbabwe Phillipe Van Damme said the funding, under the National Indicative Programme (NIP), marked an important step towards normalization of the EU’s relationship with Zimbabwe.

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    “We look forward to work in all the strategic and important areas covered by this National Indicative Programme, with the aim to foster the political and economical reforms Zimbabwe is undertaking. A fruitful political and policy dialogue should underpin our cooperation,” he said.

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    A total of €88 million will go towards supporting agriculture and another €88 to the health sector, while €45 million will be channeled towards governance and strengthening of institutions.

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    Civil society groups would be allocated €6 million while the Ministry of Finance will get €3 million, with the remaining €4 million funding technical support.

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    Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa urged the European Investment Bank and other European bank to take cue from the EU’s commitment to work with the government of Zimbabwe. – The Source