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Africa

Tsvangirai hopes for western aid to speed change

©

Video by Shona BHATTACHARYYA

Latest update : 2009-05-24

A hundred days into the Mugabe-Tsvangirai coalition government, some results are visible in struggling Zimbabwe. But western aid is necessary for funding reforms, said Tsvangirai in an interview with South African media.

Reuters - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
believes Western donors are beginning to warm to the
country's new unity government and could soon provide
financial aid, he said in a newspaper interview published
on Friday.

 

Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government with long-time
rival President Robert Mugabe in February, but the new
administration has struggled to raise funding needed to fix an
economy ravaged by hyperinflation.

 

Western donors, seen as key in raising much of the
government's $8.3 billion funding requirements, are holding back
aid and demanding broad political reforms.

 

But in an interview with South Africa's Star newspaper,
Tsvangirai noted a shift in attitudes among foreign donors.

 

"There has been some positive engagement with them. They
have moved from total disregard of what has happened to
scepticism, and now they are saying there is progress, though
not sufficient," Tsvangirai said.

 

"So they all accept that there is change taking place and
that change must be consolidated. They will eventually open
(their purses)."

 

Tsvangirai warned that any delay in extending credit lines
and balance of payments support to Zimbabwe would delay economic
recovery.

 

The unity government this month announced it had surpassed
its $1 billion target for credit lines to private firms from
African banks, but said it was struggling to get budgetary
support.

 

Finance Minister Tendai Biti cut the country's 2009 budget
by almost half in March, acknowledging the difficulties the
government was facing in getting revenue.

 

On Thursday, Tsvangirai announced that the government had
resolved most disputes in implementing the unity pact, but
remained deadlocked on the appointments of the attorney general
and the central bank governor.

 

These outstanding matters have been referred to the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union,
which brokered the power-sharing deal.

 

Western donors are also reported to be pushing for central
bank reforms, including the dismissal of the governor, whose
tenure was marked by hyperinflation.

Date created : 2009-05-23

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