The EU has been providing development aid to Zimbabwe since 1980 and over the last 15 years the bloc and its member states provided the African country with around 2 billion euros. The cooperation between the two sides wasn’t, however, always seamless. In 2002-2014, Brussels suspended direct cooperation due to the breaches of human rights and democratic principles by Zimbabwe, but the EU kept the stream of development aid open via nonprofit organizations.
The mutual relations are getting a new impetus now, in light of Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica’s visit to the country, where he is meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as well as visiting EU-funded projects. New EU-funded programs worth 23 million euros will be launched to improve people’s access to health services and better their livelihoods. “As Zimbabwe opens a new chapter in its history, we are putting our trust in the authorities to seize this unique opportunity and address the political and economic challenges in the country,” Commissioner Mimica said.
The EU is also keen on helping the country to transition towards democracy and Mr. Mimica likewise launched new EU support programs with focus on job creation and health. The majority of the funding will be dedicated to providing access to health services for women and children. The ultimate goal is the reduction of maternal mortality and the reduction of the mortality of children under the age of 5. Other objectives include halving the prevalence of stunting and improving women’s access to safe sexual and reproductive health and rights services. Combatting HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases is also on the list.