Tags: mugabe | zimbabwe | bailout

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Asks U.S. for - What Else? - A Bailout

Thursday, 19 Mar 2009 08:04 AM

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HARARE -- Zimbabwe is talking to the United States and European Union over the repeal of sanctions, according to an economic policy document, the first sign the new government may be gaining the confidence of Western powers.

The document released on Thursday by the unity government said political reforms demanded by Western donors were a crucial part of an emergency recovery plan to ease hyper-inflation and widespread shortages of food and fuel.

President Robert Mugabe called for international help for the plan and reiterated a call for sanctions to be lifted.

"I, on behalf of the inclusive government and the people of Zimbabwe, say: 'Friends of Zimbabwe, please come to our aid'," he said at the launch of the government's Short-term Emergency Recovery Program.

It forecast that inflation would fall to 10 percent by the end of 2009 - from over 230 million at last count - due to the use of multiple foreign currencies to replace the almost worthless Zimbabwe dollar.

The government of Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai faces the daunting task of rebuilding Zimbabwe's shattered economy after years of hyperinflation and decline.

While Western powers would prefer that Mugabe step down, they have indicated they can help the country recover as long as a democratic government is in place.

Western donors and foreign investors crucial to rebuilding Zimbabwe want political and economic reforms, such as reversing nationalization plans, before they will pour in cash.

"The key priority areas are ... political and governance issues, namely the constitution and the constitution-making processes, the media and media reforms, legislation reforms intended at strengthening governance and accountability and (the) rule of law ...," said the document.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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