Friday, May 30, 2008

(HERALD) Sanctions hamper Zim’s efforts to achieve MDGs

Sanctions hamper Zim’s efforts to achieve MDGs
Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S efforts to achieve United Nations Millennium Development Goals pertaining to access to safe drinking water and sanitation are being hampered by illegal sanctions slapped on the country by Western states opposed to the land reform programme, a Cabinet minister has said.

Speaking at an Africa Day commemoration organised by African ambassadors based in Harare on Tuesday night, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Stan Mudenge said access to safe drinking water and sanitation was on a downward trend since the sanctions were imposed.

Access to safe water sources and sanitation, along with youth development, were the major themes for the African Union and Africa Day celebrations this year.

Cde Mudenge, however, said Government efforts would not be derailed by the sanctions and programmes would continue to be implemented to counter the negative intentions of the country’s enemies.

"In Zimbabwe we have consciously been striving to improve rural sanitation and access to safe drinking water as part of our social responsibility programmes as a Government. Rural sanitation has indeed been improving over the years, but our efforts have been hampered by sanctions placed on the country by its detractors in the West.

"For example, in 1999, 75 percent of our population had access to safe drinking water while 70 percent had access to reliable sanitation facilities and services. However, these figures have since declined to 69 percent and 30 percent respectively for water and sanitation.

"Regardless, we will continue to strive forward and aim to ensure that everyone in the country will live within 250 metres of a safe water source by 2015 in line with the objectives of the MDGs," Cde Mudenge said.

Cde Mudenge challenged African countries to invest more resources in youth development and employment creation as a means of securing a bright future for the continent.

Africa Day is commemorated annually on May 25 to celebrate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, which was transformed into the African Union in 2002.

Tanzania’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Adadi Rajabu read a speech by the AU Chairman, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, in which he called for greater co-operation and innovation in dealing with rising energy and food prices.

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