Britain, which says it will maintain its sanctions on Zimbabwe until President Emmerson Mnangagwa implements the necessary political and economic reforms, has committed £49 million for food aid to the southern African nation.
The World Food Programme says about 7.7 million Zimbabweans need food aid, 2.2 million of them in urban areas.
Britain’s Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said the United Kingdom embassy in Harare was monitoring the situation in the country and was encouraging Zimbabwe to implement the Staff Monitored Programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund.
The SMP should be completed next month.
Lord Ahmad was responding to a question in the House of Lords from Baroness Tonge.
Q & A:
Baroness Tonge: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the (1) economic, and (2) food security, situation in Zimbabwe.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State: The Zimbabwean economy faces severe challenges and the economic situation remains fragile. Our Embassy in Harare continues to monitor developments closely, encouraging the Government of Zimbabwe to implement the Staff Monitored Programme (which runs until March this year) agreed with the International Monetary Fund. Our Ambassador discussed the economic crisis facing the country and reinforced the need for comprehensive political and economic reform and the protection of the poorest during her meeting with Vice President Chiwenga on 9 December 2019.
Humanitarian needs are rising in Zimbabwe due to the combination of poor and erratic rains and a deteriorating economic situation. Recent analysis shows that without support 5.5 million people in rural areas and 2.2 million in urban areas will not have access to the food they need. This represents 47% of the total population and 59% of rural population. In response to these needs, the Department for International Development has committed £49 million through a new Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Resilience Programme to support people who do not have access to the food they need.