The EU’s partnership with the people of Zimbabwe is longstanding. Since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, the EU has provided development assistance to the country. The introduction of the measures in 2002 has not resulted in a reduction of EU development assistance; rather, the provision of assistance was directed solely through non-government channels.

The National Indicative Programme (NIP) for Zimbabwe has been allocated a global allocation of €234 million for the period 2014-20 under the 11th European Development Fund. In the framework of the NIP, the EU cooperation will focus on 3 main sectors, namely:

  • Health;
  • Agriculture-based economic development;
  • Governance and institution building.

In 2015, the EU has adopted the Annual Action Programme for Zimbabwe which comprises of 5 actions.

In 2012, as a direct response to the Government of National Unity’s efforts to improve the freedom and prosperity of the Zimbabwean people, the EU decided on the suspension of application of the appropriate measures. This underlines the EU’s commitment to support the country and constitutes a significant step in the process towards normalised relations between the EU and Zimbabwe. It also enables the EU to develop assistance programmes so that the country can potentially benefit from the 11th European Development Fund from 2014 to 2020.

The EU and its member states have since 2009 provided over US$1 billion in development assistance, with an emphasis on supporting the provision of social services and food security, reinforcing democratic institutions, and fostering economic recovery. EU developmental programmes are increasingly aligned with national policies.

EU support to Zimbabwe was able to deliver the following achievements:

  • 22 million textbooks have been distributed through the Education Transition Fund (ETF) to all primary and secondary schools so that Zimbabwean children have books in all core subjects.
  • Over half a million orphans and vulnerable children are able to access primary education by having their school fees covered.
  • Availability of medicines and medical staff in health facilities across Zimbabwe has been improved.
  • Some 700,000 small scale farmers have been supported to improve productivity and sustainability in agriculture – benefitting millions of Zimbabweans in the rural areas.
  • Improved access to water and sanitation for more than 6 million people.
  • Supported the Constitution-making process as well as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 15 603 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 54 years (male), 56 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - Low human development (2014): 0.509
  • Low income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 420 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2009-2013): 9.2%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Agriculture and Food Security

  • 11 000 households in Hwange and Binga Districts benefitted from training in conservation farming by so-called contact farmers, who are farmers training other farmers
  • 5 800 families have received livestock and livestock rearing advice - livestock that was received was passed on to other families when they bore their first young

Good Governance and Human Rights

  • 230 magistrates were trained in human rights, technical and professional skills
  • 780 human rights defenders have received legal support for emergency and follow up cases

Trade and Private sector development

  • 12 organic or fairtrade certificates have been obtained by project beneficiaries including 2 fairtrade certifications for Baobab (first worldwide) and Rosella, as well as 10 other high value organically grown crops

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change

  • 15 000 hectares of common land have been formalised into Wildlife Management Schemes in Mahenye and Nyangambe

Civil Society and Local Authorities

  • Communications and working relationships between civil society and national bodies has been strengthened, improving participation in national democratic processes. For example, a strong partnership has been established between one of the civil society organisations involved in the project and the Ministry of Justice on the dissemination and raising awareness on the 2013 Constitution
  • 853 000 of births have been attended by skilled health personnel
  • In 2014, 69% of infants aged 12-23 months have been fully immunised (up from 31% in 2011)

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