Zimbabwean economists took exception to President Robert Mugabe's statement late this week that Zimbabwe does not need conditional Western assistance to rebuild its economy, saying aid is essential.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Mr. Mugabe as saying Zimbabwe will stage a recovery “by her wits and resources” and that the country must not waste time on "useless initiatives."
His comments followed a meeting in Brussels between Zimbabwean and European officials on rebuilding bilateral ties. Zimbabwean officials asked that European sanctions targeting Mr. Mugabe and many other top officials of his ZANU-PF party be lifted, but their EU counterparts urged more progress on human rights and reforms.
President Mugabe accused the United States, Canada and Australia of pressuring the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme to continue to bar the international sale of diamonds from the controversial Marange field in eastern Zimbabwe, where human rights abuses and the diversion and export of diamonds have been alleged.
Economist Eric Bloch said Zimbabwe cannot recover without Western aid, increased trade and foreign investment.
Director Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the country would be ill-advised to heed Mr. Mugabe's prescription.