US injects US$3m for Zim demining programmes

THE United States government has released an additional US$3 million to help in Zimbabwe’s demining programmes.

By Sharon Sibindi

Of the US$3 million, about $2 250 000 will support The Halo Trust demining operations in Mashonaland Central province that will see the return of 1 186 000 square metres of land to productive use.

The programme will also see the destruction of about 7 800 landmines while The Halo Trust will provide mine risk education (MRE) to communities and prosthetic limbs to landmine survivors.

“The remaining US$750 000 will enable Apopo to start clearing landmines from the Sengwe Wildlife Corridor in Masvingo province that connects Gonarezhou National Park to Kruger National Park,” the US said in a statement yesterday.

“During this project, Apopo will return 214 200 square metres to productive use and provide mine risk education to vulnerable communities.

“Apopo will co-ordinate its operations with the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust, a partnership between the Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society, to ensure the demining operations support both conservation and development objectives.”

“The project also complements USAid programmes to support community-based natural resource management, provide climate-smart agricultural technologies, and improve value chains so communities can sell their products for a fair market price.”

Since 1998, the US has invested more than $23,9 million in Zimbabwe towards demining programmes in order to promote economic opportunities through safe access to land. The US has pledged to ensure that Zimbabwe’s goal to safely clear all minefields in the country by 2025 is achieved.

Meanwhile, the number of Zimbabwean students studying in the US has increased by 2,5 % from to 1 377 students in the 2019-20 academic year, up from 1 343 in the previous academic year, according to the 2020 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.

US ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols said the increasing number of Zimbabwean students choosing the US signals the strong bond between the two countries. Zimbabwe is the sixth country of origin for students in the US from sub-Saharan Africa.

“The US government continues to support Zimbabweans who take part in various exchange and education programmes, demonstrating our commitment to empowering young Zimbabweans,” Nichols said.

The US embassy in Harare, in a statement on Tuesday, said: “Zimbabweans study in the US primarily at the undergraduate level with 52% enrolled at that level in 2019-20, 27,5% at the graduate level, and 19% pursuing optional practical training.

“The data shows that for the fifth consecutive year the US hosted more than one million international students (1 075 496) during the 2019/20 academic year. More than half (52%) of all international students pursued majors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes.”
lFollow Sharon on Twitter @SibindiSharon

Do you have a coronavirus story? You can email us on: news@alphamedia.co.zw