By Marcus Mushonga
Harare — THE European Union (EU) has made available €23 million (over R392 million) to support healthcare provision, job creation and democratic transition in Zimbabwe.
It is the latest indication at revived relations with Zimbabwe after years of diplomatic standoffs.
Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said the support highlighted its readiness to accelerate support to Zimbabwe during its transition process after discordant longtime leader, Robert Mugabe, was forced out of power last November.
The visit takes place ahead of Zimbabwe elections due in mid-2018.
Mimica, the Croatian diplomat, confirmed support of EU-funded programmes during an official visit to the Southern African country, where he was scheduled to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“I am here to show the Zimbabwean people and authorities that the EU stands ready to accelerate its support to their transition towards democracy and prosperity,” he said in the capital Harare.
“As Zimbabwe opens a new chapter in its history, we are putting our trust in the authorities to seize this unique opportunity and address the political and economic challenges in the country.”
About 90 percent of funding by the EU is to ensure equitable access to quality health services for women and children.
It will furthermore aim to fight HIV and AIDS, malaria and other prevalent diseases.
Since Mugabe’s ouster, EU has already provided €11 million to support the electoral process.
EU suspended bilateral cooperation with Zimbabwe at the peak of human rights violations and electoral fraud by Mugabe’s regime.