Zimbabwe needs bold economic reforms: US envoy

Harry Thomas Junior - US Envoy to Zimbabwe
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HARARE – Zimbabwe needs to implement comprehensive and bold economic reforms and get rid of corruption for the  economy to get back on track, United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Junior has said.

He spoke as the economy is imploding, blighted by critical foreign currency shortages and the central bank has issued “bond notes,” a domestic quasi-currency that is already depreciating.

Zimbabwe is yet to reach a deal with the World Bank and other foreign lenders over clearing arrears and reforms, the International Monetary Fund said, amid indications reliance on central bank finance was fanning inflationary pressures.

In April, government met all conditions to clear arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank, paving the way for possible future funding from the IMF.

“We support the government’s economic reform process. We hope that it will be implemented. We think that it takes foreign investment, local investment and mostly investment in human capital to succeed without corruption,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of are signing ceremony of a $150 000 grant to Heather Chimoga Orphan Care in Murehwa, funded under the United States African Development Foundation.

“As you know, we have been the largest donor to Zimbabwe since independence. We remain the largest bilateral donor, what we wanna see is help people to be independent, not need donations.

“When you give a $150 000 to a project that is already producing chickens, it becomes almost a bridge to financial independence and not dependence and that’s what we are doing.”

The Heather Chimoga Orphan Care supports 784 orphans daily. The organisation said they increased the number of chickens produced per from 7 000 in 2014 to over 16 000 in 2017.

Meanwhile, Thomas Jnr said Washington had no reason to censor President Robert Mugabe’s view that US President Donald Trump was a “giant golden Goliath” who threatens to make other countries “extinct.”

Addressing the UN General Assembly last month, the Zimbabwean president told Trump to “blow your trumpet” for peace.

It came two days after Trump’s own address to the UN, in which he strongly condemned a number of countries, including North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Mugabe compared Trump to the biblical figure of Goliath, a giant who had attempted to destroy the Israelites before being killed by David with a slingshot.

Mugabe said: “Some of us were embarrassed, if not frightened, by what appeared to be the return of the biblical giant gold Goliath. Are we having a return of Goliath to our midst, who threatens the extinction of other countries?

“May I say to the United States President, Mr Trump, please blow your trumpet. Blow your trumpet in a musical way towards the values of unity, peace, cooperation, togetherness, dialogue, which we have always stood for.”

Thomas said: “Our donations are to the Zimbabwean people and their future, our commitment to the Zimbabwean people, that’s why we are building a very large new embassy, it shows our commitment. And of course in regards to …Mugabe’s speech, we believe in free speech, we don’t censor anyone. We don’t intimidate anyone because of their opinion. We welcome differences of opinion,” Thomas said. – Daily News