Denmark pledges $120m to Zim

HARARE - Denmark says it will disburse $40 million per year for the next three years to Zimbabwe as part of strategies to facilitate the country’s economic revival.

Ib Petersen, Denmark’s Foreign Affairs minister, said the money will go towards funding development projects.

“We are closely working with the African Development Bank, $40 million will be disbursed yearly and it shall be released on a performance-based condition,” said Petersen, who was on a courtesy call to Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs minister.

He said the funds will be carefully monitored and audited to ensure transparency.

“A system of checks and balances will characterise the distribution of the funding.

“We want to ensure the money revives the economy in the little way it can,” Petersen said.

After a period of a freeze in relations between the two countries, Denmark is now seeking to improve diplomatic ties with the cash-strapped country.

Denmark closed its embassy in Harare and halted all aid to the country, through the Danish International Development Agency, which had poured in more than $750 million since 1995.

The $120 million donation comes after Mumbengegwi told Petersen that any funding Zimbabwe receives “should be unconditional”.

“Even though we appreciate funding for our upcoming elections, the funding must not compromise on our independence and sovereignty. Aid must not be conditional. If it is conditional then we will not accept it. We are not compromising, if the funding is conditional, keep your money,” Mumbengegwi said.

The State secretary’s visit is to conduct high-level political consultations with ministers from all parties in Zimbabwe covering a range of issues.

The timing of the visit, shortly after the successful referendum and prior to elections, sets the framework for discussions.

Denmark will also, on a pilot basis, launch direct support to Judicial Service Commission in their rehabilitation of magistrate’s courts.

The country is undertaking various interventions to also strengthen the commercial ties between the two countries.

According to Mumbengegwi, the money will be channelled mainly into the health, education and agricultural sectors.

“I cannot say much on this money, all I know is it will go into the critical sectors like health, education and agricultural sectors.

“But as we all know, I am just a Foreign Affairs minister so I merely facilitate but do not get to decide on how the money will be spent,” Mumbengegwi said.

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