Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The Swedish government has approved about $165 million development assistance to Zimbabwe over the next five years, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko heard yesterday. Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sofia Calltorp, revealed this when she paid a courtesy call on VP Mphoko at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday. “I have very good news to announce to you today that the Swedish Government this morning decided on a new five-year development cooperation programme for Zimbabwe, ” Ambassador Calltorp told VP Mphoko.
“This is something that has been discussed for a long time and today the government made a final decision on this development cooperation strategy. So, I am extremely pleased to tell you that Swedish engagement in Zimbabwe is growing.”
In an interview after a closed door meeting with VP Mphoko, Ambassador Calltorp said they had touched on a number of issues surrounding bilateral relations between Harare and Stockholm.
“I had a very good meeting with the Vice President,” she said.
“I informed him that the Swedish government today has taken a decision on a new five-year development cooperation strategy for engagement in Zimbabwe.
“I look forward to working here during my tenure to strengthen cooperation between our countries in various fields.
“We will work in three areas, the first one is democracy, human rights and rule of law, the second one is health and the third one is environment and climate.”
Ambassador Calltorp said her country would avail about 300 million Swedish kroner, which is equivalent of about $33 million annually for the next five years.
She said she would endeavour to see improved bilateral cooperation between Zimbabwe and Sweden.
“We have long history of friendship between Sweden and people of Zimbabwe and I look forward to working in all areas to enhance that friendship and work together for the prosperous development of this country,” said Ambassador Calltorp.
The ambassador is new in Zimbabwe after presenting her credentials to President Mugabe in February this year.