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Funding Pledges Scarce for Zimbabwe From Its Southern African Neighbors

A two week deadline set by the Southern African Development Community for members of the regional grouping to make pledges to help rebuild Zimbabwe ran out Tuesday with only South Africa having announced a specific amount that it would provide Harare.

At a summit in late March SADC members declared their support for Zimbabwe's efforts to raise the projected US$8.3 billion the country needs to carry out its so-called Short-Term Economic Recovery Program over the next two years.

South Africa said upon the summit's close that it will contribute 800 million rand or around US$90 million to support the operation of the national unity government that was installed in Zimbabwe in mid-February and to provide credits to the commercial sector.

Government sources in Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Angola told VOA they are still engaged in internal consultations, but acknowledged it could be difficult for them to mobilize cash for Zimbabwe amidst the general global economic downturn.

SADC sources said Zimbabwe’s best hope now lies with the European Union and the United States despite declarations from both that they will will not provide development aid until there is clear evidence of reform in Harare on human rights and governance in particular.

South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said SADC has dispatched teams of ministers to lobby for reconstruction funding and the lifting of Western sanctions targeting President Robert Mugabe, officials of his ZANU-PF party and associates.

Zambian Information Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Lusaka is keen to help but it needs more time to consult.

Pretoria-based political analyst Peter Kagwanja said the SADC countries - some of which are still in post-conflict mode - don't have deep enough pockets to bail out Zimbabwe.

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