The United Nations has thrown its weight behind new elections in Zimbabwe set for July, calling on the government to kickstart the African nation’s economy as an “urgent priority”.
The administrator for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Achim Steiner, was in Harare as part of a three-day trip that saw him meet Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He told reporters that: “UNDP is committed to continue supporting the preparatory process for the elections and economic recovery efforts.”
Presidential polls are due by the end of August, when Mnangagwa will face his first major test after taking over from long-time strongman Robert Mugabe, who resigned in November after four decades in office.
Among Mnangagwa’s long to-do list is settling Zimbabwe’s flailing economy, which battled with hyperinflation during Mugabe’s time.
“It is clear from my discussions with the president and government officials that jump-starting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery is an urgent priority,” Steiner said.
“We commend steps being taken by government in terms of policy and legal reforms to improve the ease of doing business.”
Steiner said the UN last year provided more than $400 million (325 million euros) to Zimbabwe through donors across several sectors including health and environment.