The UK has announced a £5 million fund towards Zimbabwe’s democratic processes ahead of the forth coming general elections.

Speaking at an event with prominent civil society actors in Harare yesterday after meeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the UK Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, announced the £5 million of new UK aid funding to support the strengthening of democratic electoral processes in the run up to and following the 2018 elections.

Minister Baldwin visited Zimbabwe on Thursday and Friday on her first overseas visit in her new role as joint Minister for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

During her visit, Minister Baldwin met with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo to discuss the Zimbabwean government’s vision for domestic transformation and international engagement through comprehensive political and economic reforms.

Minister Baldwin welcomed the President’s commitment to invite international observers from the EU and UN as well as SADC and AU.

“I am pleased that my first overseas trip as Minister has been to Zimbabwe. The historic events the country has experienced over the last few months have created an opportunity to strengthen UK-Zimbabwe relations as part of a wider process of international engagement. The upcoming elections are a major milestone for the people of Zimbabwe. When I met President Mnangagwa, I said my government welcomed his commitment to hold credible, peaceful, free and fair elections monitored by international observers,” she said.

Minister Baldwin also met with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor, Dr John Mangudya to discuss the government’s plans for clearing debts and normalising relations with international financial institutions.

I have seen for myself that Zimbabwe is a country of enormous potential. With the right leadership, the right policy environment and a vibrant democracy and civil society, Zimbabwe can undergo the transformation it so richly deserves.