by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE United Kingdom (UK) is providing £74 million (R1,57 billion) of bilateral development assistance to support Zimbabwe this year.
The funds are focusing on poverty reduction, humanitarian assistance, human rights and the rule of law.
In addition, the UK has rapidly reprogrammed over £21 million to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Southern African country.
Julian Braithwaite, UK’s ambassador to the World Trade Organisation and United Nations in Geneva, disclosed the support as he welcomed a delegation from Zimbabwe.
David Musabayana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, led the delegation.
“The UK is committed to supporting a more prosperous, peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe, a country with significant economic potential and high human capital,” Braithwaite said.
He said the UK welcomed Zimbabwe’s commitment to economic and political reforms and hope dto see more trade and investment with Zimbabwe in the future.
“We believe there is notable potential in the renewable energy, agriculture and financial services sectors, sectors with the potential to improve livelihoods and financial inclusion,” the envoy said.
Braithwaite however said while his country recognised the challenges caused by external shocks such as Cyclone Idai and COVID-19, they were concerned by the lack of fundamental reforms.
This, he said, was leading to the economic crisis such as inflation, rated at 838 percent, and extreme poverty.
Despite a political standoff, UK and its former colony have immense connections.
An estimated 20 000 British nationals live in Zimbabwe. There is also a Zimbabwe diaspora of over 112 000 living in the UK.
Total trade between the two countries was £285 million at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
UK is Zimbabwe’s second largest bilateral development partner.
– CAJ News