Image: @Machekatatenda - Photo: 2023

Hunger and Poverty Grip Zimbabwe As It Commemorates Independence

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK, 23 April 2023 (IDN) — “On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I congratulate the Zimbabwean people as you celebrate the 43rd anniversary of your independence,” said US Ambassador Pamela M. Tremont to the landlocked southern African country.

“The United States remains committed to standing with the people of Zimbabwe, as we have since your independence in 1980, to work together to promote democratic institutions, equitable economic growth, public health, and food security.

“Zimbabwe has the chance to set itself on a path to promote citizen engagement and to respect human rights. We will continue to support the people of Zimbabwe to live longer, more prosperous, and healthier lives.

“As you celebrate your independence, please know that our friendship with the Zimbabwean people endures.”

As Zimbabwe celebrated its Independence Day on 18 April, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country’s economy was improving. But a World Bank report released this month said that while Zimbabwe’s poverty levels are declining, they remain elevated.

“Food availability does not equity to food security since not every Zimbabwean has access or can afford grain,” said Tatenda Macheka from the World Food Programme (WFP) in Zimbabwe, commenting on Mutsvangwa’s announcement.

“The rural ‘Zimvac’ (the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee) estimates that 3.8 million people will be cereal insecure at the peak of the lean season. WFP has been providing food assistance since the start of the lean season in October and continuous work with the government to assist those in need. At peak WFP will reach 700 000 people with food assistance while the government will support 3.1 million with cereal.”

Recently, the government released the ZimVAC report, which confirmed the figures Macheka talks about.

However, the government is projecting optimism and talking about making Zimbabwe food secure. Once the breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe has been an economic basket case for more than 20 years now. The government attributes that mainly to drought and western sanctions while critics say it is because experienced commercial farmers were pushed off their land and replaced with farmers with minimal resources in 2000. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Image: @Machekatatenda

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