Friday, February 27, 2009

Aid for Zimbabwe needs to be seen in perspective and needs serious governance rules attached

Aid needs for Zimbabwe's reconstruction has been touted as being around $5bn. This seems to be an inordinately small amount of money in today's bailout environment. Consider that General Motors lost nearly twice this amount in the fourth quarter of 2008. Consider the hundred's of billions of dollars being pumped into the failed banking systems internationally and Zimbabwe's $5bn price tag appears paltry by comparison. What price for a nation?

It is not surprising that Zimbabwe's request for aid falls on deaf ears in the west and in Africa. Robert Mugabe's behaviour has sealed the country's fate and even the presence of a token opposition party in parliament has done little to mitigate for Mugabe's nearly three decades of rampant crimes against humanity. He and his cronies have robbed Zimbabwe blind. Handing this same gang of thugs $5bn is neither palatable nor prudent.

With proper international governance and monitoring however the problem could be simply resolved and probably within a relatively short timeline. If the United Nations and Imminent Group of Persons wished to do something useful in African now would be the time. All that is needed is continue the political house cleaning that seems to have taken hold with the introduction of the MDC to the political landscape. With no faith in ZANU-PF we are left with the MDC and must be hopeful that it will show leadership and integrity in returning the lives of good Zimbabweans to normality.

Story below from the BBC:

Western donors have resisted African requests to help rescue Zimbabwe's economy.

They say they are waiting for proof that the unity government is really working.

Zimbabwe has asked for emergency aid to revive public services and the business sector.

But as the summit began on Thursday, local people expressed concern as to whether their country could afford the aid burden, says the BBC's Mohammed Allie in Cape Town.

He points out that South Africa has recently lost thousands of jobs, particularly in the mining, clothing and motor car industry.
Mr Tsvangirai said last week it would cost as much as $5bn (£3.5bn) to fix Zimbabwe's economy.

The new administration urgently needs to tackle an economic meltdown that has led to the world's highest inflation, food shortages and a cholera epidemic.

More than half the population is believed to need food aid, while just 10% of adults have a regular job.

The Herald quotes African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka as saying that Zimbabwe's economic recovery plan merits support. But he said Zimbabwe's foreign debts of $5bn (£3.5bn) had to be addressed, before more aid could be sent.

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