EU, Zimbabwe sign €47m agreement to fund health and support ZEC

Zimbabwe and the European Union have signed two financial agreements worth a combined €47 million (US$48 million) to fund Zimbabwean public healthcare and help the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) prepare for the 2023 elections.

The agreements are part of a package of €148 million approved by the EU for programmes in Zimbabwe over the next two years, the EU and the Ministry of Finance said in a joint statement Monday. They said that the US$150 million agreements will be signed in 2023.

Of the €47 million signed on Monday, €41 million will be spent on healthcare, while the rest will go to ZEC.

“In total, Zimbabwe has been allocated Euro 148 million for the 2021 – 2027 Multi-Annual Indicative Programme, targeting the following thematic areas; Green economic growth, Social recovery & human development, and Good governance & citizens’ rights,” Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said.

The health aid will target mostly district health facilities, aiming to fund programmes to end preventable maternal newborn child and adolescent deaths and other activities.

The EU’s funding to ZEC is meant to “enhance the institutional and technical capacity”, the EU and Treasury said.

“In this context, Hon. Justice Priscilla Chigumba, as Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, please be reassured that we stand ready to support you in your endeavour to fulfil your Constitutional mandate,” said Jobst von Kirchmann, EU ambassador to Zimbabwe

While the EU has rolled back its sanctions on Zimbabwe, maintaining only an embargo on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, it does not provide direct budgetary aid to the country. Under the new financial agreement, the funding for healthcare will be managed by UNICEF, while UNDP will run that for ZEC.

Apart from funding ZEC, the EU is also providing aid to civil society groups for voter education, electoral litigation and other advocacy.