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United Nations Unveils $1.6 Billion Aid Package for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe and the United Nations on Friday signed a $1.6 billion four-year development aid package for boosting various sectors, including food production and HIV prevention.

Misheck Sibanda, chief secretary to the president and cabinet signed the agreement on behalf of the government while the United Nations was represented by Resident co-ordination, Bishow Parajuli.

The development package will support six national development priorities including food and nutrition, gender equality, HIV and AIDS, poverty reduction and natural resources value addition, public administration and governance, and social services.

Sibanda said Zimbabwe was grateful for the assistance as it comes at a time when the country is experiencing economic problems. He said the financial and technical support will help Zimbabwe achieve its development goals.

Most importantly, Sibanda said, the aid will be channeled through treasury unlike in the past when such assistance was sent directly to development partners.

He said unlike during the inclusive government when the UN focused on humanitarian assistance, it is now focusing on development. Sibanda was optimistic that the move by the UN will influence other donors to follow suit.

Parajuli said the assistance shows that the UN is committed in assisting Zimbabwe.

A development worker, Anna Sibanda, told VOA Studio 7 while the move by the UN is welcome she fears the funds may be abused.

Economist James Johwa said channeling financial assistance through government in the near future is a clear indication that the UN now recognizes the Zanu PF government.

He said mechanisms must be put in place to ensure the funds are used for the intended purposes.

The UN has spent $1.6 billion in development aid to Zimbabwe in the last four years.

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