EU gives millions for Zim

Harare - The European Union is to give €15m ($19m) in humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe, the bloc's executive announced on Friday.

Zimbabwe has long been a political outcast as a result of international condemnation of President Robert Mugabe's authoritarian regime. But that has not stopped basic support being delivered to the country's beleaguered population.

The EU's humanitarian aid commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, said a government of national unity, installed last year after Mugabe accepted to share power with the opposition, has produced "recent improvements."

However, "the road to recovery is still a long one. If we want Zimbabwe to get back on the path towards longer-term development, we will need to carry on with our efforts to provide clean water and sanitation facilities to the population," Georgieva indicated.

Zimbabwe has been crippled by Mugabe's land reforms, nominally aimed at giving disenfranchised black farmers the large plots owned by former white colonizers.

The policy led to the total collapse of the agriculture-based Zimbabwean economy, leaving large swathes of the population to rely
on international aid.

The latest funding from the EU is expected to provide for primary health care, distribution of medicines, supply of water and sanitation, as well as paying for vouchers and cash transfers to the population.Author: Alvise Armellini

- Sapa-dpa 

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