By Zvamaida Murwira
Government yesterday signed a tripartite funding and implementation agreement for a US$24,3 million grant facility from the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) towards the post Cyclone Idai emergency, recovery and resilience programme.
Government has made a co-financing commitment to the tune of US$3,2 million, making a total of US$27,9 that will be used within a period of three years.
The US$24,3 million grant is an addition to US$250 000 which the bank disbursed immediately after the cyclone struck.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube signed the agreement on behalf of Government, while Mr Damoni Kitabire represented AfDB and Ms Thushanti Selvararajah, UNOPS.
In his keynote address during a brief function held in Harare, Minister Ncube said the grant was meant to support Government in rehabilitating damaged infrastructure and rebuilding lost livelihoods for the most affected districts of Chimanimani and Chipinge in Manicaland province.
“Specifically the grant targets restoration of service levels of transport, power, water, sanitation and agriculture to the affected people, as well as strengthening Government’s capacity in disaster preparedness and management,” said Minister Ncube.
“In this regard, the objectives will be delivered through financing of the following activities; replacement of transformers, construction of water and sanitation facilities, reconstruction of roads and bridges, reconstruction of power distribution substations and lines, distribution of agriculture inputs, institutional capacity, strengthening and capacity building on emergency preparedness and recovery process management.”
He said the UNOPS had been assigned to implement the programme in partnership with the Government over the three-year period.
“The gesture symbolises the strong partnership and deepened cooperation between Zimbabwe and its partners, in responding to emergency needs post the tropical cyclone which sadly caused loss of lives and livelihoods as well as damage to infrastructure,” said Minister Ncube.
He said Government had already spent $61,8 million on mitigation measures while it has allocated an additional $352,5 million.
Speaking at the same occasion, Mr Kitabire hailed Zimbabwe’s reform efforts.
“It is recognised that Zimbabwe has all the potential to recover from its past, given the reform efforts that the Government is currently pursuing. However, we all know that business confidence in the country has been low over the last two decades. As your bank, we will stand with you as you endeavour to revive the economy with progressive market-oriented policies,” said Mr Kitabire.
Ms Selvarajah said her organisation supported peace building, emergency and development projects.