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Did America Promise Zimbabwe $750 Million for Land Reform?

  • VOA Reporters

Ambassador Harry Thomas Jnr.

Ambassador Harry Thomas Jnr.

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Jnr. says he is not aware that America pledged to give the country millions of dollars for carrying out land reform program in the first 10 years of independence.

Zimbabwe claims that America and Britain reneged on giving the country funds for conducting a comprehensive land reform program.

In an interview with reporter Blessing Zulu, Thomas Jnr. told VOA Studio 7 that what is pleasing is that America over the years unveiled over $2,6 billion for various projects in the country.

Responding on a question on America’s alleged pledge to give Zimbabwe $75 million for the first 10 years of independence for resettling landless people, the U.S ambassador said he had not heard about it.

“I never heard of that number ($75 million) … Lancaster House … United States and Britain did pledge, did provide funding for initial 10 years but what you have to look at is United States in intervening for the past 36 years has provided $36 billion for Zimbabwe. We continue being the largest donor by far.”

He said the U.S is assisting Zimbabwe in tacking the El Nino-fueled drought that has left 4 million locals in need of urgent food aid.

America is also funding various projects designed to boost the capacity of communities at grassroots level.

In a related development, cattle farmer Themba Dlodlo says most farms that were seized from white commercial farmers are currently lying fallow due to lack of funds and related issues.

Dlodlo said it is almost impossible to get bank loans to fund agricultural business as many farmers do not have title deeds to the land they are occupying.

“It is very difficult … In fact, it is impossible. No bank will agree to give you money with the hope that you will make profit and come back and pay the money because they have nothing to hold, no collateral. They don’t accept farms as collateral.”