Rebuilding Zimbabwe must begin immediately

By mborum

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OXFORD, UK — Rebuilding Zimbabwe?s shattered economy must be a priority for the international community, international aid agency Oxfam said today in response to the news of a power sharing deal.

"Delay is not an option. The international community must provide support and assistance to the new coalition government,? said Charles Abani, Regional Director for of Oxfam in Southern Africa. ?Assistance must be carefully coordinated and managed, so that very weak state institutions are not overstretched. Zimbabwean civil society must also be included in a transparent process.?

Ordinary Zimbabweans are desperately short of food, health care, clean water and safe sanitation. The little food that is available is unaffordable to most. An estimated 3.8 million people are anticipated to be in urgent need of food assistance by October. Life expectancy for women is just 35 years, and unemployment stands at 85 per cent.

Investment in agriculture is key. Farmers need fertilizers and seeds urgently, so that they can prepare for the November planting season.

"The international community must not just throw money at this problem then walk away and say 'job done'. Zimbabwe needs a long-term plan, built on partnership and shared responsibilities, and supported by long-term, predictable aid from international governments,? said Abani.

?It is also important that the Zimbabwe government meets its commitments to rebuilding the nation. The coalition government must show leadership in the rebuilding process if international support is to succeed. They should ensure equitable and effective access to humanitarian assistance, extend the operational space for all civil society organizations, and deal quickly with outstanding registration issues for NGOs,? Abani added.

?Many local and international organizations who want to get back to helping poor people in Zimbabwe are still unable to do so because their registration status is pending. We urge the new government to facilitate the registration process in the interest of Zimbabweans in need of assistance.?

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