With 2009 shortly to close, the Zimbabwean Finance Ministry said Friday that expatriate nationals had remitted some US$159 million dollars to the country as a unity government struggled to fund a difficult economic turnaround.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans joined the so-called diaspora during the decade-long political and economic crisis. Most live in South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom with others scattered around the globe.
Remittances from the diaspora to family members to pay rent, buy food and cover school tuitions contributed significantly to keeping the country going for years as the formal economy withered and unemployment soared.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told VOA Studio reporter Sandra Nyaira that the Zimbabwean diaspora has a duty to come the aid of the country - though he said he does not agree with a recent proposal to levy a tax on expatriates.
He said the country made notable economic progress during 2009, and that such gains must be consolidated and extended during 2010.