US HAS CONTRIBUTED US$10 MILLION IN AID TO SUPPORT HUNGRY ZIMBABWEANS LIVING IN URBAN AREAS
HARARE – The struggling Sothern African country of Zimbabwe can barely feed its population of 14 million and in recent times has become one of the poorest countries in the world due to bad governance, corruption and persistent droughts among other factors. Before the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe used to produce surplus food that enabled it not only to feed itself but the rest of the African continent and was regarded as the breadbasket of Africa.
The US, though having placed Zimbabwe under sanctions for gross violation of human rights continue to poor aid to alleviate the effects of COVI-19 and drought.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Tuesday received US$10 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for families in urban areas of Zimbabwe struggling to meet their daily food needs due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Eddie Rowe, WFP Zimbabwe Representative and Country Director welcomed the contribution by the US government as ‘generous and timely’:
“This generous and timely contribution will help alleviate the suffering of a large number of people struggling to cope with the twin shocks of COVID-19 and a still deteriorating economy,” he said
The contribution will assist almost 100,000 people with monthly cash transfers equivalent to US$13 each, enabling them to meet almost two-thirds of their daily food requirements.
A September 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report said that more than 2.2 million people in cities and towns faced food insecurity, not least because of surging prices. COVID-19 has exacerbated economic instability, significantly impacting urban residents already living hand to mouth, many of them working multiple jobs in the informal sector. WFP forecasts that by March next year at least 3.3 million people – almost half (47%) the country’s urban population – will be food insecure.
The US ambassador to Harare Ambassador Brian Nichols said the aid was testament of America’s goodwill towards the people of Zimbabwe:
“This additional funding underscores the strong commitment of the American people and government to the people of Zimbabwe,” He said
WFP is scaling up its urban assistance programme to deliver monthly cash transfers to at least 550,000 Zimbabweans in 20 of the country’s most food-insecure urban areas.