Norway Increases Aid to Zimbabwe

HARARE, – Norway has given Zimbabwe financial aid amounting to US$9.2 million to support the coalition government, the Nordic country revealed.

The money will be used to prop up the health and education sectors. The country said the money would not be chanelled through the government but Non Governmental Organisations, the UN and World Bank to avoid embezzling of funds.

“Zimbabwe is determined to climb out of an abyss. If the new government proves capable of functioning, Zimbabwe could become an example of a country that has avoided becoming a failed state. It is therefore important to support Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the new Unity Government to help rebuild the country,” said Erik Solheim, Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development.

Norway said the money would be used to ensure that children can go to school and the sick have access to medical treatment.

Solheim said part of the money would also be used for food aid and to support a World Bank multi-donor trust fund to support the rehabilitation process in the country.

Norway will also provide support for implementation of the agreement between the government parties, he said.

“When people who have risked their lives for democracy in Zimbabwe ask us to provide help, we have an obligation to do so. If we fail to support those who are fighting for change now, Zimbabwe could become a new Somalia. That is a chance neither Zimbabwe nor the rest of the world can take,” Solheim said.

Norway discontinued direct assistance to Zimbabwe in 2000 when the country slid into anarchy following the controversial land reform programme.