Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, is visiting Zimbabwe, where he is meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as visiting EU-funded projects.
New EU-funded programmes worth €23 million will be launched to improve people's access to health services and enhance their livelihoods. This visit takes place ahead of the elections in Zimbabwe due to be held by mid-2018. On the occasion, Commissioner Mimica said: "I am here to show to the Zimbabwean people and authorities that the EU stands ready to accelerate its support to their transition towards democracy and prosperity. I am also happy to launch new EU support programmes for a total amount of €23 million in the area of health and job creation. As Zimbabwe opens a new chapter in its history, we are putting our trust in the authorities to seize this unique opportunity and address the political and economic challenges in the country."
The majority of the funding announced today (€20.6 million) will be dedicated to ensuring equitable access to quality health services for women and children. Notably, it aims to reduce maternal mortality, as well as halve the prevalence of stunting and reduce the mortality of children under 5. It will furthermore aim to fight HIV and AIDS, malaria and other prevalent diseases. In addition, efforts will be made to improve women's access to safe sexual and reproductive health and rights services. The funds will contribute to UN agencies, UNICEF and UNFPA, through the multi donor Health Development Fund.
Furthermore, a programme with NGO Save the Children worth €2.8 million will help grassroots associations to work towards improving the livelihoods of 15 000 young women and men.
Commissioner Mimica's visit takes place less than six months after President Mnangagwa and his new Cabinet took office and made a strong plea for reforms and engagement with the international community. The EU has already provided €11 million to support the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission and civil society stakeholders in the preparation of the electoral process.
Since February 2015, Zimbabwe and the EU have resumed their bilateral development cooperation. Before that, EU cooperation with the government was suspended due to serious violations of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. Despite this situation, direct assistance to the people of Zimbabwe continued to be provided through trusted partners and NGOs. The EU and its Member States have disbursed more than €2 billion for Zimbabwe over the past fifteen years. Even when bilateral cooperation was suspended between 2002 and 2014, the European Commission alone continued to provide more than €700 million in direct support to the Zimbabwean population, notably in the field of humanitarian aid, education, health, agriculture and food security.
Development cooperation with Zimbabwe under the 11th EDF (2014-2020), worth €234 million, focuses on the focal sectors health, agriculture-based economic development, as well as governance and institution building. In addition to this, the EU helped respond to various natural disasters and the 2016/17 drought with over €25 million.
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