EU envoy predicts tough year for Zim

HARARE - This year will be particularly difficult for Zimbabwe and the international community should be prepared for all possible scenarios, a top European Union (EU) envoy has said.

In his New Year message, head of the EU delegation in Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme said 2016 is going to be a challenging year as a result of the drought caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon and a dying economy.

“So we have probably a more challenging year coming up in 2016, but let’s even be more optimistic and continue working hand-in-hand, with government, with stakeholders of the society to turnaround this economy,” Van Damme said in a video message.

“We have a drought for 2016 but we have prepared for that, the overall situation in the sub region is not too good.”

This comes as the country is set to benefit from the El Nino funds mobilised by the European Union, with its effects expected to be the strongest on record.

The country will share €12 million from the EU with six other countries from southern Africa, to save lives.

El Nino is characterised by rising temperatures of surface sea water, which interact with the atmosphere and cause different extreme events, from floods to droughts.

Relations between the country and the bloc are also on a recovery path, signalled by the block lifting of direct financial aid to the Zimbabwe government and commitment of more funds to Zimbabwe under various programmes.

The EU also proffered its support to Zimbabwe’s debt repayment strategy and facilitated discussions with creditors at the multilateral lenders meetings in Lima, Peru, last year.

“I have had more than a year in Zimbabwe and I have mixed feelings. Of course some positive signs we had a tremendous year at the delegation, we committed more than a €160 million and we disbursed €70 million in a new programming cycle with the government of Zimbabwe, that’s on the positive side,” he said.

He said the debt resolutions by Zimbabwe were a welcome development.

During the last quarter of 2015, the EU and Zimbabwe signed five financial agreements totaling €98 million ($97,9 million) under the 11th development fund.

Comments (3)

its 16th straight challanging year.

X-MAN IV - 13 January 2016

in fact this will be a global sell off after the price fall in various stock markets.therefore, the impact is going to be personal.everybody should brace himself.there is storm on the way.

mutoro - 15 January 2016

So $12 shared between six countries comes to $2 million per country. I know beggars cannot be choosers but 2 mil from the EU, really! Its not even enough for Mukuru's holiday in the Middle East!

wadyeniri - 16 January 2016

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