Norway will increase aid to Zimbabwe
OSLO, Norway, — Norway will increase its aid to Zimbabwe with NOK 42 million to a total of NOK 200 million this year, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Oslo today.
The funds will mainly go to areas that Mr. Tsvangirai’s party, the MDC, is responsible for: basic education, health services and promoting democracy.
The funds will not be channelled through the Zimbabwean government financial system, but through the UN, the World Bank and NGOs.
“I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister Tsvangirai in Norway”, Stoltenberg told a joint press conference after the meeting. “Mr. Tsvangirai has shown leadership and great courage as opposition leader and as head of government. We admire his efforts to unify the opposition and the new government. We need his leadership in challenging times ahead”, Stoltenberg said.
“Norway remains a true friend of the people of Zimbabwe. We support Zimbabwe’s Government of National Unity and are prepared to start bilateral cooperation with the Government”, Stoltenberg said. “However, we must first see progress in a number of areas: in human rights and media laws, in reforming the police and the military, and in the possibility for civil society to play an active role in the reform process”, Stoltenberg said.
“There is no current alternative to the Unity Government in Zimbabwe. But the Government is not democratically elected, it is a political compromise. The goal must be a new constitution and free and fair elections within a few years”, Stoltenberg said.
Norway has for many years supported human rights organisations and activities aimed at promoting democracy and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.