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Western Donors Pledge US$500 Million in 2011 Aid to Zimbabwe; Voice Concerns

  • Tatenda Gumbo

The group cautions that the pace of reforms and credible preparations for elections will determine the level of interaction between donors and the unity government.

Western donors have pledged to provide more than US$500 million in humanitarian and other aid to Zimbabwe in 2011, but caution that the pace of reforms and credible preparations for elections will determine the level of interaction between donors and the unity government.

The so-called Friends of Zimbabwe, an informal group of donor nations and financial institutions met recently in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It issued a statement urging the Harare unity government to cooperate with the Southern African Development Community to promote conditions for legitimate and peaceful elections, including enhanced transparency into activities by the government and implementation of reforms.

Finance Minster Tendai Biti told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that Harare needs to take the issues raised by these key donors seriously.

Analysts say the call for credible elections by the Friends of Zimbabwe reflects the concerns of donors who have been holding back on aid due to fears of increased political risk.

Economist David Mpamhedze told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the donors are holding out the incentive of expanded aid in hopes of motivating reforms.

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