US embassador slamed for boasting about donations to justify economic sanctions

Brian Nichols

The United States remains the largest provider of health and humanitarian assistance, including the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), food assistance, and disaster relief, to the people of Zimbabwe. Since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the U.S. government has provided over US$3.5 billion to the people of Zimbabwe, including initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health outcomes, and promote democratic governance.

“We stand by the commitments that we made to the people of Zimbabwe at independence in 1980, to work together to promote democratic institutions, equitable economic growth, public health, and food security,” says Ambassador Brian A. Nichols. “The United States deeply respects the people of Zimbabwe and remains committed to working together with Zimbabweans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, and more prosperous 21st century Africa.”

For the past four decades, the United States has consistently supported Zimbabwe when the country faces emergency needs, such as Cyclone Idai and the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. The U.S. committed over US$19 million to help Zimbabwe respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This amount includes $10 million to ensure that 100,000 people in eight urban areas have access to adequate food supplies between August 2020 and January 2021. In addition, previous U.S. investments in the health care system totaling over a billion dollars laid the foundation for Zimbabwe’s efforts to combat COVID-19. U.S. health assistance concentrates on the prevention and treatment of the diseases that are the three leading causes of death in Zimbabwe–HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria–to help Zimbabweans live longer and healthier lives.

Through PEPFAR, the U.S. provided US$163 million in 2020, and has committed over US$230 million in 2021, to support Zimbabwe’s efforts to achieve HIV epidemic control and more than a million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe with care and treatment.

With Zimbabwe facing one of its worst food security crises in a decade due to the combined effects of failed economic and agricultural policies, corruption, consecutive poor agricultural seasons, the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States will provide over $62 million to support food distributions during the upcoming 2020/21 lean season and $5 million to meet the additional needs of drought-affected communities. This adds to last year’s lean season, where USAID provided more than $86 million to reach more than 1.8 million food insecure Zimbabweans in 22 rural districts throughout the country. The United States remains the largest bilateral donor of emergency humanitarian assistance in Zimbabwe.

In 2020, total U.S. assistance exceeded $337 million. This includes $197.5 in health, $79.8 million in emergency assistance, $11.4 million in economic growth, $26.5 in resilience building, and $21.9 in other programs.