ZIMBABWE is in dire need of aid, especially in areas around poverty reduction, with the United Nations (UN) promising to pour more funding in the face of an investment and jobs dry-up due to a serious economic crisis.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
UN resident co-ordinator Bishow Parajuli told journalists at a Press conference this week that his team was targeting to raise more than $326 million to pour into Zimbabwe in the year 2017 for various interventions mostly associated with poverty reduction.
“We hope to target the same level (the target of 2016, $326 million) or more. In fact, Zimbabwe needs really good help. We are extremely committed to doing the very best in supporting all areas,” Parajuli said.
“In fact, one of the areas which we looked at targets poverty reduction in which we think we need to do more.”
The UN raised $322m in 2016 towards aid in Zimbabwe against the set target of $326m to support various interventions in areas of poverty reduction and value-addition, gender promotion, agriculture and nutrition security, HIV and Aids, administrative reforms, governance and social services.
Zimbabwe is just coming out of a devastating El-Nino-induced drought, which left over four million citizens in need of handouts.
While the rains have improved this year, some areas have been hit by floods.
Parajuli said while there would be no hunger in Zimbabwe, food insecurity and malnutrition were issues that the UN agencies would have to deal with in the current year.
“I would say, frankly speaking, the element of food security, but no hunger. Zimbabwe, we were facing lots of challenges when the drought came in, but the pro-activeness of government and the strong element of partnership we did has addressed all the issues of famine and hunger. Of course, there is food insecurity and malnutrition and that’s what we are working on,” he said.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said government would channel all the aid from UN in a non-partisan manner.
There have been numerous reports that government officials were being forced by Zanu PF to deny suspected opposition supporters food aid.
“Politicisation of relief, I don’t think that is correct, the minister responsible has time and again responded to that issue. In fact, only last week one of the members of the political parties had to apologise over this issue,” Sibanda said.