British FM says financial support to be linked to democratic progress

HARARE, November 30 (The Source) – Britain could extend financial support to Zimbabwe to help stabilize its economy and clear its debts with international lenders but such support will be linked to ‘democratic progress, foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said.

Zimbabwe owes the World Bank and the African Development Bank a combined $1,8 billion in arrears emanating from loans contracted in the 1990s, ruling out any aid from the agencies.

“Those are indeed the things that we would try to do to help Zimbabwe forward, but we’ve got to see how the democratic process unfolds,” Johnson said on Wednesday on the sidelines of an African Union-EU summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

A new administration led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken charge in Harare after Robert Mugabe resigned last week and is seen as amenable to mending relations with the West. Mnangagwa has promised to undertake a host of reforms needed to revive the country’s ailing economy.

“I am encouraged by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s words so far.For as long as the President acts on his words, then Britain is willing to work alongside him and offer all the support we can,” said Johnson.

Zimbabwe is due to hold elections in 2018.