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Zimbabweans Welcome Announcement of International Support for Economic Recovery

Zimbabwe's Finance minister Tendai Biti said Wednesday that Harare's plea for financial support was receiving positive response from the international community with some countries pledging various lines of credit to help Zimbabwean banks. Harare says it needs at least eight billion dollars over the next three years to jumpstart its economy, which has the world's highest inflation. This comes after long time President Robert Mugabe said he is pleased with the cooperation in the new unity government.

Political analyst George Mkwananzi tells reporter Peter Clottey that Zimbabweans are expressing optimism about their government's efforts so far.

"Obviously it is a piece of good news and quite refreshing coming against the backdrop of a lot of suffering in Zimbabwe. But we don't know for sure whether these things will translate themselves into visible financial aid which is going to flow into Zimbabwe. But trusting that the minister is telling us the truth then we obviously welcome and embrace it as good news. Zimbabweans need that kind of aid they need the assistance so that they can have their dignity restored and they reclaim their face under the sun," Mkwananzi pointed out.

He said many Zimbabweans had to leave the country in droves because conditions became unbearable.

"The situation in Zimbabwe had gotten to a level where it had become practically disastrous to live in that country. It was suicidal to be a resident of Zimbabwe and that is why many people had to pour outside the borders of the country into neighboring countries because they had to escape the disease, the lack of services, basic services, lack of commodities including the collapse of education and the health sector," he said.

Mkwananzi said it would be great for Zimbabwe's economy when regional and international financial support begin to pour into the country.

"If lines of credit are open for Zimbabwe so that they can begin to reconstruct and restructure all the collapsed infrastructure then it is going to give confidence that the country is on the road to recovery, and perhaps it will even encourage doubtful foreign investors to also take interest in Zimbabwe and then put their money there," Mkwananzi noted.

He said long time leader President Mugabe is a major cause of the country's financial crisis.

"Robert Mugabe has been the greatest stumbling block on Zimbabwe's progress and recovery particularly by appearing to frustrate and thwart whatever efforts were being made by his counterpart in the MDC (opposition Movement for Democratic Change) to get the country to recover. And also recently by encouraging fresh farm evasion and with this statement that he has issued lately, it would appear that he can see that if his colleagues in government from the other party are given enough space and enough authority without being hindered and inhibited then they will cause a lot of progressive developments to occur in the country which will be to the benefit of everybody including himself," he said.

So far some countries have been reluctant to release donor aid to Zimbabwe over policy differences with long time ruler President Robert Mugabe. They want to see political reforms put in place before resuming support. But Zimbabwe's strong neighbor South Africa as well as other countries and banks have promised funding, and some undisclosed amount in lines of credit to help with the unity government's efforts at restarting the shattered economy.

Meanwhile government figures show that ordinary Zimbabweans have been seeing a slight fall in the price of everyday items since it allowed shops to abandon the local currency.

Hyper-inflation has destroyed the value of the Zimbabwe dollar, but the new unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has raised hopes of rescuing the once prosperous country. Previous official figures showed inflation at 231 million per cent in July, but economists said it rose far higher.