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Zimbabwe Government Proposes Reconstruction, But Funding Prospects Dim


Zimbabwe's national unity government has its work cut out for it trying to raise international funding for the economic recovery plan unveiled yesterday by president Robert Mugabe and Finance Minister Tendai Biti which calls for US$5 billion in reconstruction spending.

The United States government immediately rebuffed Mr. Mugabe's appeal for assistance from the international community and for travel and financial sanctions against him and members of his inner circle to be lifted. A State Department spokesman said the unity government had yet to show evidence of serious reform on governance, human rights and the rule of law.

South Africa was sending mixed signals on its commitment to funding Zimbabwe's recovery following a meeting this week in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, of a bilateral commission which gave rise to reports South Africa might extend US$2 billion in credits to Harare.

But Finance Minister Trevor Manuel was then quoted as saying Pretoria just doesn’t have the means to bail out Zimbabwe alone. "We are not a bank, we are poor," Manuel said.

European diplomats also say they want to see substantive reforms, expressing concern about human rights abuses and new seizures of white-owned commercial farms.

But the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Friday that the Japanese and Portuguese ambassadors to Harare were urging their governments to lift sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and other top officials and business people considered to support him.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is up to Harare to show it is serious about reform.

Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma and economist Nhlanhla Nyathi discussed the economic turnaround strategy with LiveTalk hosts Brenda Moyo and Blessing Zulu.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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