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EU ambassadors to visit Zimbabwe’s South East Lowveld region   

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Ambassadors from member states of the European Union, together with the Ambassador of the EU, will visit the South East Lowveld from Wednesday to Friday, the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe said in a statement on Tuesday.

During the trip, the envoys will appreciate the progress and results achieved so far under the EU cooperation with Zimbabwe in the region, the statement said.

They will also seek to reinforce the understanding of the opportunities and challenges in the area, the statement added.

“During the visit, the delegation will meet with government, communities, traditional leaders, local authorities, farmers, conservancy operators and sugar producers to discuss their concerns, exchange views and strengthen the cooperation between the European Union and Zimbabwe for the benefits of the people in the South East Lowveld,” the statement said.

EU Ambassador Philippe Van Damme said the EU was proud of having supported over the past years the people in the South East Lowveld with 14 million U.S. dollars in facing their daily challenges and working toward a more prosperous future with projects in agriculture, sustainable livelihood from wildlife, livestock and irrigation.

“In addition, the European Union supported the local sugar industry - one of the key economic drivers - with more than 37 million dollars to out-growers, improve infrastructure such as railway and irrigation schemes and increase production capacity.

“The European Union has a long standing and strong partnership with communities in the South East Lowveld, one of the most disadvantaged regions in Zimbabwe. Poverty, human wildlife conflict, land degradation, deforestation and drought are only some of the challenges facing the region,” he said.

Van Damme added that the drought induced by the El Nino phenomenon in 2016 highlighted once more the vulnerability of the region, prompting large scale emergency assistance, among others, from the European Union.

“The European Union and its member states remain committed to continue their support. New programs for over 14 million dollars put the sustainable management of natural resources at the center of our cooperation,” he said.

Van Damme said supporting communities, local administration and government in best leveraging and mobilizing the resources of the South East Lowveld including wildlife, tourism, livestock, sugar and agriculture in a balanced, economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way would be critical for the development of the local communities and for a better, more prosperous future.

Meanwhile, the EU has also launched a new call for proposals to support improved service delivery by public-private partnerships throughout the country.

It will provide 7.1 million dollars for a project that aims at promoting sustainable service delivery in the field of research, education and extension for improved contribution to wealth creation and agricultural growth.



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