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Zimbabwe: Overseas Aid

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the proportion of his Department’s direct aid to Zimbabwe which has reached its intended recipients in the last 12 months. (249869)

The delivery of UK aid in Zimbabwe, alongside that of UN and other international agencies, is rigorously monitored and subject to regular reporting, independent evaluation and financial audit. Our estimation has been that UK assistance reaches its intended recipients. When we do hear of any attempt to divert aid, the programme in question is halted immediately while an investigation takes place. However, from 4 June to 29 August 2008, as a cynical and damaging electoral ploy, Robert Mugabe’s regime instituted a ban on the operations of NGOs across the country. During this period, large amounts of international food-aid (including UK contributions) were obstructed; none of this aid was diverted, it was simply not distributed. Other non-food aid—including essential medicines and support to people with HIV and AIDS—was distributed where delivery to intended recipients could be assured.

Since the lifting of the ban, the international community has scaled up its response rapidly to provide vital food assistance to over five million Zimbabweans. Despite this massive operation, rigorous monitoring has been maintained, with few reports of obstruction or diversion of aid, and we are confident that UK contributions are being delivered to intended recipients.