UN avails US$1,5bn to Zim over 30 months

Blessings Chidakwa and Yeukai Tazira

The United Nations, through the Zimbabwe United Development Assistance Frameworks (ZUNDAF), has to date disbursed US$1,5 billion in various projects and programmes over the past two and half years in Zimbabwe, an official has said.

Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe and World Food Programme representative Mr Eddie Rowe said ZUNDAF’s contribution accounted for 62 percent of official development assistance to the country.

Addressing the Zimbabwe Youths Sustainable Development Goals Summit at a local hotel last Friday, Mr Rowe said the future of the country lay in the hands of the youths.

The summit ran under the theme “Youths as drivers of sustainable development”.

“The UN in Zimbabwe, through its five-year strategic framework the 2016-2020 ZUNDAF, has so far delivered US$1,5 billion in various projects and programmes between January 2016 to June 2019 accounting for 62 percent of official development assistance to the country,” he said.

“Zimbabwean youth are among the most educated and innovative on the continent, as such emphasis must be placed on developing entrepreneurial skills, access to finance and incentives so that you become employers and create opportunities.”

Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, who was guest of honour, announced a national SDG steering committee that will spearhead youth involvement in achieving SDG goals in the country.

Minister Ndlovu said the SDGs underpinned almost every initiative and policy launched by Government in the Second Republic such as the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (2019-2023).

“I believe also that any development that leaves young people behind or disempowered is equally unsustainable,” he said. “I was advised that my focus should be on SDG 9 which addresses the matters of industry, innovation and infrastructure and indeed it should be of interest as it sits at the core of this nation’s industrialisation agenda and economic development.”

Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Lewis Matutu said SDG 16, which speaks to peace, was the most pertinent one as all other 16 SDGs are pinned on it.

“Where there is no peace there is poverty, where there is no peace economies suffer and where there is no peace there is no justice, there are no strong institutions,” he said. “Zimbabweans are surrounded by the word peace.

“We cannot build strong institutions in a country that is not peaceful. Which brings me to the point that it is the responsibility of young people — not necessarily looking at our personalities, at what we believe in, or where we belong — to be selfless and understand that we need to maintain the peace that we so enjoy in the country.

“It takes me to the word that is called ‘patriotism’ making sure that I put Zimbabwe first before anything else.

“I understand that I am a Zimbabwean before anything else and I understand that I have to work for Zimbabwe before myself.”