Norway increases aid to Zimbabwe

Minister of the Environment and International Development, Erik Solheim. Photo by Berit Hessen.

Norway is increasing its aid to Zimbabwe by NOK 58 million. The money will be used to help the people of Zimbabwe and support the new Government of National Unity.

Due to the years of misrule, embezzlement and hyperinflation, the Norwegian money will not be channelled through the Zimbabwean Government’s financial system. The funds will instead be channelled through NGOs, the UN and the World Bank.

“Zimbabwe has stared down into the abyss, but is determined to climb out of it. If the new government proves capable of functioning, Zimbabwe could become an example of a country that has avoided becoming a failed state. It is therefore important to support Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the new Unity Government to help the country rebuild,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

The funds provided by Norway will primarily be used for measures to improve health and education. They will help to ensure that children can go to school and that the sick once again have access to medical treatment. Some of the money will also be used for food aid and to support a World Bank multi-donor trust fund to support the rehabilitation process in the country. Norway will also provide support for implementation of the agreement between the government parties.

“When people who have risked their lives for democracy in Zimbabwe ask us to provide help, we have an obligation to do so. If we fail to support those who are fighting for change now, Zimbabwe could become a new Somalia. That is a chance neither Zimbabwe nor the rest of the world can take,” said Mr Solheim.

If the Unity Government falls apart, there is a great risk that the reform-oriented forces in Zimbabwe will lose the struggle for change and that the country could descend into an even deeper crisis.

Norway discontinued its direct assistance to Zimbabwe in 2000.


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