The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will continue working closely with the Government in strengthening Zimbabwe’s food and nutrition security, representative and country director Ms Francesca Erdelmann told Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga yesterday.
This comes as WFP launched its country strategic plan for Zimbabwe in July this year which will end in 2026.
Speaking after paying a courtesy call on the Vice President, Ms Erdelmann said: “I was very honoured to share with the Vice President what the programme is all about and what we will be implementing over the next four and half years.
“Many of the activities also coincide with his work as the Minister of Health and Child Care and that’s particularly what we focused on today.”
Ms Erdelmann said the WFP would step up its contribution to building shock-responsive social protection and food systems.
“One of the areas that we hope to work very closely on with the Minister and with his team is on the sourcing of local commodities for clinics and maternity waiting homes so that expecting mothers can come to the clinic in time for their delivery and be receiving nutritious meals while they are waiting,” she said.
Through resilience-building activities, the WFP is investing in humanitarian-development to enhance sustainability, which is in line with Sustainable Development Goals on the eradication of poverty and dovetails with Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030.
The Government remains committed to crafting political guarantees and an enabling policy environment that ensures food and nutrition security through broad-based partnerships.
The outlook for nutrition on Africa has been increasingly bleak, with the latest report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World indicating that around 322 million people in Africa experience severe food insecurity, a significant increase from 282 million in 2020.
Earlier yesterday, VP Chiwenga had met US Chargé d’Affaires Ms Elaine French, who expressed her country’s continued support for Zimbabwe’s fight against HIV and AIDS.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Ms French said their meeting covered vast issues in the country.
“We had constructive conversation that covered a broad range of issues from economic reform and governance, to our hope for peaceful, free and fair elections in 2023 here in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“We also talked about a number of health issues, particularly in the spirit of World AIDS Day which was last week.”
In the health area, Ms French said they mainly talked about the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“We talked at length about US assistance in the health sector to the people of Zimbabwe, in particular we talked about US assistance through our PEPFAR programme which is HIV and AIDS related programme,” she said.
“In 2022, we spent over US$200 million related to HIV and AIDS programming. Last decade the United States has provided US$1,7 billion related to PEPFAR programmes in Zimbabwe and that assistance has helped Government of Zimbabwe in our efforts to reduce HIV infection in the country by 70 percent in the last decade, as well as decrease the number of deaths by 76 percent since 2006.”
Ms French stressed the importance of unity between Zimbabwe and the United States in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Zimbabwe has joined the rest of the world in pursuit of ending new HIV infection by 2030.