Zimbabwe PM says west warming to unity government


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 today.

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, Reuters added.

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.

Tsvangirai yesterday 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.