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Sweden Commits US$60 Million to Zimbabwe to Promote Free & Fair Elections

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Elsewhere, Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council has given the government US$7 million worth of anti retro-viral drugs to expand the life-extending therapy to more people living with HIV

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency has pledged US$60 million to help Zimbabwe implement its 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing with a particular emphasis upon reforms to enable free and fair elections to be held.

Funds will be released over two years to projects that promote free and fair elections, human rights and gender equality in Zimbabwe, Swedish officials said.

The officials said their development agency assessed the need for institutions to make it possible to hold democratic elections following the disastrous 2008 ballot that led to the power-sharing agreement and the early-2009 launch of a unity government.

The Swedish agency will consider proposals from government entities and from non-governmental organizations, the officials said.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga said organizations supporting democratic reform welcome the funding, but spending must be monitored.

Elsewhere, Zimbabwe's National AIDS Council has given the government US$7 million worth of anti retro-viral drugs to expand the life-extending therapy to more people.

The NAC gave the Labor and Social Services Ministry US$270,000 for a basic education assistance module program targeting aids orphans and other poor groups.

NAC spokeswoman Madeline Dube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that her organization has procured the new entrepreneurial drug Tenofir, considered to be more effective in controlling HIV in people living with the virus that causes AIDS.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera applauded the National AIDS Council for providing the means to purchase more ARVs, calling it a step toward a self-sustaining AIDS fund.

Dube said the organization has focused on AIDS orphans hoping to reduce the stigma that continues to be attached to those afflicted or affected by AIDS.

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