Visiting new British Minister of Africa Harriet Baldwin announced £5 million new United Kingdom aid to strengthen the country’s civil society ahead of the elections scheduled mid this year.
Baldwin, who arrived in the country last week as her first visit overseas, met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo.
She discussed the new government’s vision for domestic transformation and global engagement through all-inclusive political and economic reforms.
At the end of her visit Friday, Baldwin engaged civil society actors, human rights defenders and election experts and announced the £5 million assistance to strengthen democratic processes in the run up to the election.
“I am pleased that my first overseas trip as Minister has been to Zimbabwe,” said Baldwin.
“The historic events the country has experienced over the last few months have created an opportunity to strengthen UK-Zimbabwe relations as part of a wider process of international engagement.”
“The upcoming elections are a major milestone for the people of Zimbabwe. When I met President Mnangagwa, I said my government welcomed his commitment to hold credible, peaceful, free and fair elections monitored by international observers.”
She added, “I have seen for myself that Zimbabwe is a country of enormous potential. With the right leadership, the right policy environment and a vibrant democracy and civil society, Zimbabwe can undergo the transformation it so richly deserves.”
Baldwin welcomed the President’s commitment to invite international observers from the EU and UN as well as SADC and AU.
During her visit, she also met Finance Minister Chinamasa and Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya to discuss the government’s plans for clearing debt and normalising relations with the International financial institutions.
Baldwin confirmed that the UK would continue to support the government’s reform agenda.
She also welcomed government plans to attract more investment into agriculture through ensuring land tenure and compensation issues are tackled.