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paper: Re-thinking aid policy in response to Zimbabwe's protracted
Kate Bird and Stefanie
Roundtable discussion: Re-thinking
aid policy in response to Zimbabwe's protracted crisis
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The aim of this discussion paper is to contribute to debate at a
Roundtable on Zimbabwe at
the Overseas Development Institute on 4th June 2007. The paper is
organised thematically to present a brief overview of the current
situation in Zimbabwe before outlining alternative visions for the
future for Zimbabwe and the role of the international community
in that future.
It is important
to highlight that some of the assertions made in this paper are
drawn from the media. They are uncorroborated and the Overseas Development
Institute cannot be held responsible for any errors in fact or interpretation.
in the grip of its worst humanitarian crisis since the start of
majority rule. Life expectancy has plummeted to 36 and is expected
to fall to 27 years by 2010, 1.4 million people are in need of food
aid, the economy has shrunk faster than any other in peace time
and has the highest inflation rate in the world.
How has the
former breadbasket of Africa collapsed in this way? Adverse climate
conditions and the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS can only partly explain
the high levels of poverty and vulnerability among Zimbabwe's
once prosperous population. The Zimbabwean government blames the
country's collapse on US and EU sanctions but these are limited
to (i.) a ban on travel to the EU and US by 95 ZANU PF officials;
(ii.) a ban on arms sales to Zimbabwe and (iii.) a freeze on Zimbabwean
owned assets in European and American banks. This suggests that
the root cause is elsewhere.
In the sections below
we outline what we see as the key drivers of the current economic
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