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Zimbabwe Says Dearth of Development Funds Hampering Progress

International Cooperation official Tadeous Chifamba told Parliament's committee on foreign affairs that the government's programs have been hampered by a dearth of Western development aid

A senior Zimbabwean government official told Parliament on Tuesday that Western sanctions are blocking the country's access to international development aid.

Regional Integration and International Cooperation Ministry Permanent Secretary Tadeous Chifamba told Parliament's committee on foreign affairs that the government's efforts to address social and economic challenges have been hampered by the refusal of major international donors to provide other than humanitarian assistance.

The U.S. government has stated as policy that it will not provide development assistance but only humanitarian assistance until the unity government implements significant and convincing reforms in particular through full implementation of the 2008 Global Political Agreement for power sharing which underpins the so-called inclusive government.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from Parliament that Chifamba told the committee that while efforts have been made to re-engage and normalise relations with the West, the United States and Europe continue to withhold major funding.

But Chifamba said Western countries are providing technical assistance and other forms of support to the country's still-tentative economic and social recovery.

He said Zimbabwe received US$31.1 million under recovery support programs which will be used to buy maize seed and fertilizer, among other necessities.

Chifamba said Zimbabwe still needs humanitarian aid, but said appeals for assistance had fallen short of targets because of competing international needs, in particular in Haiti following its earthquake and Indonesia where volcanoes have erupted.