Talkmore Gandiwa/Tadiwa Chikomo
HARARE – Zimbabwe and the European Union have signed two financial agreements for a total value of €47 000 000.00 (Forty Seven Million Euros) to work together in two key shared priorities: health and democracy to support implementation of the Zimbabwe National Development Strategy 1 (NDS-1).
These financing agreements are the first to be signed within the overall EU envelop amounting to €148 000 000 (One Hundred and Forty Eight Million Euro) allocated to Zimbabwe for the next two years.
Further financing agreements are currently under development for interventions in the areas of green economic growth and governance. These are expected to be signed in 2023, thereby giving Zimbabwe and the European Union an opportunity to agree on common objectives and activities for their implementation.
The agreements were signed by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and Ambassador of the European Union Jobst von Kirchmann.
At the signing ceremony, Ncube said the agreement signified the deepening of cooperation between Zimbabwe and the EU, describing it as a historical milestone.
“…..the EU support is building upon and reinforcing the investment made under the 11th EDF, and as Government we welcome this development which dovetails with our national development thrust as enunciated in the National Development Strategy 1 under the Governance and Health & Wellbeing pillars, as well as, our development mantra of ‘leaving no one and no place behind’ .…”
The financing agreement for the ‘Improved Health Outcomes for the Population of Zimbabwe’ amounting to 41 million Euro, together with contributions from other Development Partners (Ireland and the UK), will pave way for the creation of the Health Resilience Fund (HRF), which is aimed at supporting the strategic activities of the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
This new Fund builds on the previous achievements of the Health Development Fund (HDF), a multi-donor fund financed by the EU, Sweden, Ireland, United Kingdom and GAVI.
The HDF realised the following key achievements during its 6-year implementation period:
• Decreased maternal mortality by 25 % between 2014 and 2019;
• Decreased under 5 mortality by 3 %, between 2014 and 2019;
• Sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and HIV services were extended to over one million young people between 2016 and 2021.
Aligned with Chapter 9 of the Zimbabwe’s National Health Strategy (2021-2025), the HRF will support interventions across three main pillars:
1) Ending Preventable Maternal New-born Child and Adolescents Deaths;
2) Global Health Security; and,
3) Overarching support to Health Systems Strengthening
Most of the activities will target district health facilities as the most effective approach to ensure full access to comprehensive services for Women’s Health (including to Gender Based Violence services, family planning services). These activities are also key to one of the #Team Europe Initiative (TEI) by which EU and the EU Member States and Switzerland join forces to contribute to “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” in Zimbabwe.
“Health is a fundamental human right in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and the European Union is today proud to contribute to the realisation to that right”
Ambassador von Kirchmann said the Support comes at an opportune time, when Government is prioritising the strengthening of good governance in order to foster economic development. “Globally, it has been acknowledged that building institutional capacities is critical for economic growth and development.”
Strengthening the capacity of Independent Commissions to deliver on their mandates is one of the strategies of the NDS-1. “Thus, the EU support will contribute to enhance the institutional and technical capacity of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to fulfil its constitutional mandate. The support to ZEC will be complemented with support provided to civil society by the EU on advocacy, voter education, monitoring and electoral litigation. The European Union is committed to support Zimbabwe to hold credible and peaceful elections in 2023 and beyond.”
The ‘Support to Zimbabwe Electoral Process’ Project will be administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and will complement Government’s efforts in strengthening the capacities of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
“Peaceful elections will be one of the key elements that will allowing Zimbabwe to create a prosperous environment to make the National Development Strategy a reality,” said von Kirchmann, Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to the Republic of Zimbabwe