THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Zimbabwe's deepening poverty will continue unless there is reform
ActionAid International
April 18, 2005

Following the sixth Zimbabwean parliamentary election that took place on 31 March against a backdrop of severe economic, social and political crisis, ActionAid International is calling for a governance system that will benefit the poorest and most vulnerable Zimbabweans.

It is estimated that over 80% of the national population now live under the internationally recognised poverty line of US$1 per day. Zimbabwe’s HIV and AIDS prevalence rate is the fourth highest in the world at nearly 25%, with the hardest hit being women and girls who are experiencing infection rates of up to 59% in some pockets of the country.

Now that the election has come and gone, ActionAid International is calling for attention to be turned to the socio-economic challenges that the country is facing. Ian Mashingaidze, the Zimbabwe Country Programme Manager, ActionAid International said: "For as long as the socio-economic crisis in the country is not resolved urgently, the country will continue on the current downward spiral. The need to resolve the crisis is much more urgent than before, regardless of who won or lost the recent election."

ActionAid International is calling for a governance system that enables Zimbabwe’s poorest citizens to have meaningful and sustainable livelihoods, decent jobs, a functional economy, and social security. They must have:
  • An economic programme that revives the productive sector and creates employment opportunities. Government’s current efforts to address the economic decline must be enhanced with particular emphasis on reducing inflation and the budget deficit.
  • A guaranteed system to provide food security for over 6 million people living in rural and urban areas who might not be able to meet their food needs this year. Emphasis should be placed on appropriate targeting of food aid beneficiaries, such as HIV/AIDS affected households, poor households and female headed households, through community oriented approaches.
  • Access to quality health services. Anti-retroviral drugs to improve the lives of people living with AIDS must be provided to those who need them. Of the estimated 260,000 people who need antiretroviral therapy in the country, only about 5,000 are currently receiving it. Drugs for the treatment of opportunistic infections must be available. Orphans and children from HIV/AIDS affected households must be given skills, guidance, love and care. This must be done through a framework of intervention that put women and girls at the centre of the national HIV/AIDS response.
  • Every child of school-going age being in a school with all basic facilities/services, and the restoration of the country’s once world-acclaimed education system; and
  • Greater support from the international development community for a socio-economic turn around, e.g. through improved trade opportunities, quality aid, and debt relief.
ActionAid International is committed to upholding the rights of the poor and socially excluded. It finds that in Zimbabwe, the economic crisis is hitting the poorest hardest, being characterized by food insecurity and commodity shortages, triple digit inflation around 124%, foreign currency shortages, falling GDP per capita (from US$645 in 1995, US$437 in 1999 to US$165 in 2004), and an unemployment rate of over 70%.

ActionAid International is a willing and able partner to those who seek social justice for the poorest and most marginalised. The agency calls on the Zimbabwean government, the opposition, and civil society movements to come together and seek a lasting solution to the current multifaceted crisis in Zimbabwe.

"African people must stand in solidarity with poor people in Zimbabwe, and to support Zimbabweans to move beyond the narrow confines of electoral politics to address the deep structural problems that the country is facing," said Ian Mashingaidze.
We call upon the South African Government, SADC, the African Union and the international development community to support Zimbabwe turn around the challenges it is facing, and regain its international status.

Please contact the following for further details or comments:

Mr Ian Mashingaidze, Zimbabwe Programme Manager: +263 4 788 122/3
Ms Catherine Makoni, Zimbabwe Programme Policy Coordinator: +263 4 788 122/3
Ms Caroline Sande, Director Southern Africa Partnership Programme: +27 82 447 3645
Ms Everjoice Win, International Women’s Right Coordinator: +27 82 924 6035

Visit the ActionAid fact sheet

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.