Zimbabwe PM makes shock financial plea at SADC summit

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Zimbabwe has upped its financial aid package to $8-10 billion as it strives to rebuild the country’s devastated economy. The shock plea at the Southern African Development Community on Monday morning with South Africa’s Foreign minister saying the regional block is reviewing the recovery plan requiring that financial assistance.

The figure is almost double that which Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai previously said was needed to rebuild the economy. Tsvangirai, had originally said a US$5 billion rescue package would be ok.

In February Finance ministers from the 15-nation grouping agreed to seek donor help to rebuild Zimbabwe’s ruined economy, putting the initial need at $2 billion.

A new unity government formed by Mugabe and his long time rival Tsvangirai has given Zimbabweans hope of economic recovery. However, Western powers, who accuse Mugabe of human rights abuses and election rigging, are reluctant to pour in aid while he remains head of state. The United States has indicated that economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe will remain.

In a March 23 interview with Africa News Report, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James D. McGee said Zimbabwe’s new unity government must move to embrace established, internationally recognized human rights principles. Until that takes place, he said, the United States is “just not going to lift these sanctions. We have individual sanctions and we have sanctions against parastatals.” Both types of sanctions, he said, “are there for a reason” because certain people and entities have been using the country for their own enrichment.

“The people of Zimbabwe — their needs are not being met. … We have looked at it very carefully. The situation … remains the same. So until we do see some change, the sanctions are going to stay in place,” he said.

Also the recent spate of farm invasion could work against Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe badly needs the money as nearly five million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid while over 4 000 people have succumbed to the outbreak of the cholera disease in a period of six months.

Almost 100 000 have also been affected by the epidemic.

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