9 May 2017

Zimbabwe: Sweden Gets Tough On Donors Funds, Demands Accountabilty and Results

Photo: Radio Okapi
(File photo).

THE Swedish government says it is putting strong monitoring mechanisms to guard "our investment" from being "diverted".

Addressing delegates gathered to witness the $1.35 million grant donation to the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe, Sweden's head of development cooperation in the country, Maria Selin, said they want to see where and how their funds are being used.

"We do want to see the results and we want to be able to track our investment and we need to know where the money is going," said Selin on Tuesday.

"We do not accept that our money that comes from the tax payer way back in Sweden is diverted to anywhere, where it is not supposed to be," she added.

This comes as corruption in Zimbabwe is not only in the public sector but also in private sector and the civil society. In recent years, some reputable civil society organisations have been accused of abusing donor funds.

Since independence in 1980, President Robert Mugabe's government has not shown strong willingness to curb corruption. Despite some senior government ministers being linked to corrupt activities in the recent past, none of them have been prosecuted.

As a result of corruption, some development partners have scaled down their work in the country.

Sweden is also "deeply" concerned about the cash crisis which Zimbabwe is experiencing. Stockholm called on President Mugabe to revise his economic and political and enterprise policies to stimulate investment in order to rescue the "difficult" situation.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe on the side lines of the $1.35 million grant donation, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sofia Calltorp, said consistent investment policies are the solution to Zimbabwe's ailing economy.

"The cash crisis is very serious and it's affecting Zimbabweans the most as compared to the diplomatic community, and what we are doing is to try to see how we can alleviate the situation," she said.

"There are a number of factors that have correlated in order for this very difficult situation to occur and it needs to be addressed at different levels," said ambassador Calltorp.

She said without political and economic reforms it will difficult for Zimbabwe to recover.

"Politically there is need for reform in the country, I think, and consistency with respect for policy enterprise in order to stimulate investment and so forth," she said.

For almost two years now Zimbabwe has been in a serious cash crisis which has resulted in pensioners and workers sleeping in bank queues to access their earnings and savings.

The government has tried to alleviate the biting cash shortages by introducing bond notes, but again, the local currency, whose value the central bank has equated to that of the United States dollar, is also disappearing from the formal money market.

Government has, however, accused Chinese nationals and other business dealers of taking US dollars out of the country.

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