Western billions flow into ‘sanctioned’ Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe

Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
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ZIMBABWE has received over $3 billion in aid from Western governments since 2012, official data shows, despite a two-decade-long diplomatic fall out and sanctions targeted at President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.
Donor support to Zimbabwe was $471 million in 2016, equivalent to 13 percent of that year’s total government revenues.

Mugabe’s government has blamed the sanctions — which saw western governments withholding direct support to the government for many years — for Zimbabwe’s economic ruin. But critics blame Mugabe’s policies, such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle inexperienced, under-funded black farmers, for the country’s protracted economic crisis.

Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a 20-member group which includes some of the wealthiest countries, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Franc, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia, show Zimbabwe received $2,6 billion aid between 2012 and 2014.

Zimbabwe government statistics show OECD states provided a total of $574 million in direct aid between 2015 and 2016.

Non-OECD member China provided $86 million aid over the last two years, data tabled by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, during his mid-term budget review last Thursday shows.

Government had received a total of $471 million in 2016, Chinamasa said.

“Development partners’ support complemented government efforts in the provision of social services, as well as infrastructure and other development programmes to the tune of $471,2 million,” Chinamasa said.

“Of this amount, bilateral partners provided $270,1 million, with the balance of $201,1 million coming from multilateral partners.”

Health got the largest donor support, $230 million, half of which came from the Global Fund for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programmes.

Agriculture support was $46 million, basic social services $45 million while governance programmes received $38 million donor aid.

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF says sanctions have cost the economy a cumulative $42 billion since their imposition 16 years ago.

The party says the country has missed out on $36 million aid annually since 2001, as well as loans averaging $79 million per year over the same period.

However, data shows that western aid to Zimbabwe between 2012-2014 is in the same ballpark as Zambia ($3 090), Somalia ($3 158), South Sudan ($4 537), Malawi ($3 230) and Rwanda ($2 999).

Over the period, aid to Zimbabwe has exceeded what OECD states gave Sierra Leone ($1 772), Burundi ($1 582) and Benin ($1 775).

Former coloniser Britain leads aid to Zimbabwe, providing a total of $257 million over the past two years, followed by the European Union with $106 million.

China is the third largest source of aid for Zimbabwe, with $86 million since 2015. – FinGaz