Friday, April 26, 2019

EU pumps extra €4 mil for Cyclone Idai victims

The European Union (EU) has availed an additional €4 million for humanitarian assistance to Cyclone Idai hit areas while the Chinese government has announced some measures it is implementing to enhance bilateral exchanges with Zimbabwe.

This came out when the EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe Ambassador Timo Olkkonen and Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun held separate meetings with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices this morning.

Ambassador Olkkonen was the first to pay a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa. The EU has already availed €4 million to Zimbabwe to assist people affected by the floods with food, shelter, water and sanitation.

Ambassador Olkonnen delivered a letter from the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Mr Christos Stylianides announcing additional humanitarian support of €4 million to be divided amongst the three countries affected by Cyclone Idai.

“Today we brought a letter announcing a further €4 million of financial support that EU is rendering to the survivors of Cyclone Idai which come on top of our earlier assistance, bringing it to €16 million for the whole region and €4.5 million for Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Olkonnen.

President Mnangagwa and the EU head of delegation also held fruitful discussions covering bilateral issues and a wide range of other topics including the political and economic reforms.

The EU head of delegation to Zimbabwe said the EU welcomes the recent announcement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) team that was in Zimbabwe recently carrying out an assessment on progress made under the staff monitoring programme.

“We are very much supportive of and even financially supporting part of the agenda such as constitutional alignment. We also discussed about recent violence and violation of human rights. We also talked about the economy, the news about the recent announcement about the staff monitoring programme by the IMF which we think is a positive step forward and also about the larger economic reform agenda which we again are supportive of.

We discussed a range of other bilateral issues as well. I think there has been a lot of expectation on the reform agenda going forward because we heard already some time ago, positive announcements such as the stabilisation programmes and we have been very much hoping to see the implementation of that programme. We have also have, for example, the Electoral Observation Mission of the EU that was here which gave a number of recommendations and there has been a lot of hope that concrete steps can be taken.

We have recently seen positive steps such as staff monitored programmes by the IMF, it’s certainly one of those. We have also seen movement on the constitutional alignment agenda, the media bills, the replacement of POSA and I think it’s important that there are discussions starting and going on about these things. We have seen positive steps,” Ambassador Olkonnen said.

Meanwhile, Chinese top envoy to Zimbabwe Ambassador Guo Shaochun who recently commenced his tour of duty in Zimbabwe also paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa.

He said the Chinese government and a number of Chinese companies are actively taking part in the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in areas that were ravaged by Cyclone Idai.

Emerging from the meeting with the President, Ambassador Shaochun told journalists vital meetings between the ministers of the two governments have been lined up that are expected to further enhance cooperation.

Reconstruction efforts in Cyclone Idai hit areas are now in progress and local private companies are also responding positively to President Mnangagwa’s appeal for assistance.