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Posted on Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:42

Zimbabwe expects EU sanctions to ease

By Janet Shoko

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the government is confident the remaining sanctions will be lifted. Photo©ReutersThe European Union will in November extend €234 million in development assistance to Zimbabwe, but this will only go ahead if the bloc removes decade-long sanctions on the southern African nation.

 

Frosty relations between the EU and Zimbabwe, which saw the bloc impose sanctions on President Robert Mugabe, his inner circle and selected firms in 2002 over alleged rights abuses, appear to be thawing.

The EU has been reviewing the sanctions annually.

Speaking at the 11th European Development Fund Programming seminar in Harare on Wednesday, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell'Arricia said the financial package support will be provided under a six-year programme called the National Indicative Programme.

"The European Union has earmarked €234 million for this National Indicative Programme for the period 2014 to 2020," he said, adding that the bloc is committed to improving relations with the Southern African country.

"All this is pending the decision of the European Council of Ministers in November. All the events that will follow will depend on that decision, which we hope will be positive."

A provisional allocation of the fund has been drafted.

A total of €88 million will be spent on supporting the agriculture and health sectors, while €45 million will go towards governance and strengthening of institutions.

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.

For years, the EU stopped channeling development aid through the Zimbabwean government and worked instead with charities, but it will now talk to the government about how to spend aid money.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the government is confident the remaining sanctions will be lifted.

"Given the extensive discussions that we have conducted with the European Union, I have no doubt the promises given for assistance under the 11th European Development Fund would be honoured," he said.

"We have faith that the lapse of Article 96 sanctions would, as promised by the European Union, pave way for normalisation of economic relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union."

Zimbabwe, shunned by western governments and funding institutions, needs $27 billion - more than twice the size of its economy - to fund a five-year plan to improve basic services and rebuild the impoverished country.

Mugabe's Zanu PF party has long demanded the complete removal of EU sanctions it denounces as illegal.



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