Outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray says the US will provide about
$126 million in development assistance to Zimbabwe this year.
In an interview with NewsDay, Ray said the funding would be channelled towards health, education and economic programmes, among others.
“In 2012, we will provide approximately $126 million in development assistance. We will provide support in the areas of health, education, economic growth, food security and governance programmes,” Ray said.
“The United States also provides assistance to Zimbabwe through its contributions to the Global Fund and the World Food Programme emergency programme.”
Ray said Zimbabwe’s relations with the US had improved as evidenced by his country’s commitment to ongoing humanitarian support and supporting active dialogue on human rights, economic growth and the promotion of democracy.
As the country’s economy starts picking up following a decade-long recession, Ray said businesses in the US had begun exploring new opportunities in Zimbabwe.
“At the October 2011 ‘Doing Business in Zimbabwe forum’ in Washington DC, I made a point of saying Zimbabwe is open for business and encouraged US companies to take a closer look,” he said.
According to Ray, US assistance to Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 totalled nearly $2,5 billion and in 2011, Zimbabwe imported goods worth
$60 million from the US and exported $51 million worth to that country.
“It is my belief that economic growth and stability are as important as democratic institutions and human rights protection in this country. These things are deeply rooted together, and the US is helping Zimbabweans strengthen them all,” Ray said.