Zimbabwe Struggling To Attract Foreign Aid – Biti

A unity government formed by bitter adversaries President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last year says it needs at least $10 billion to fix an economy emerging from a decade-long slump.

But key Western donors have withheld aid and demanded broad political reforms and assurances that Mugabe is ready to genuinely share power.

Biti, a top official from Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said Zimbabwe would have to finance its projected budget deficit of $810 million from its own resources.

“It’s very unlikely that donors will fill that $810 million gap, we’re on our own,” Biti said. “Last year we got $35 million — $30 million from South Africa and $5 million from China. 2010 is going to be worse, we have to mobilise our own resources.”

Critics accuse Mugabe, 86, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980 of ruining one of the continent’s most promising economies through policies such as the seizure of white commercial farms to resettle landless blacks.

Although the power-sharing government has managed to stabilise the economy after 10 straight years of decline and inflation which peaked at 500 billion percent, the country is struggling to restore productivity, feed itself and repair its ruined infrastructure. Reuters