By Emmerson Njanjamangezi
The European Union (EU) block says it has expended over $2 billion in development finance cooperation to Zimbabwe since 2002 to date.
This is despite sour relations between Harare and Brussels that led to over a decade long standoff.
EU head of delegation, Philippe Van Damme told reporters on Thursday that since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, the EU has provided significant amounts of development assistance to Zimbabwe.
“Together with its member states, the EU has been by far the largest donor to Zimbabwe, providing more than half of the official development aid.
“Since 2002 total funding provided by the EU and its member states amounts to over 1,5 billion pounds.”
Van Damme said the $2 billion financial aid was channelled through Non Governmental Organisations (NGO).
Announcing EU’s lifting of trade sanctions effective November 1, 2014, Van Damme said development finance cooperation will now be channelled through government.
“However, we will start by building trust, confidence and capacity in government before we start extending financial aid,” he added.
EU and Zimbabwe relations are based on the Partnership Agreement the EU signed with 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in Cotonou in 2000.
The agreement is centred on the objective of reducing and eventually eradicating poverty consistent with the objectives of sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy. The Zimbabwe Mail