|Programmatic and Partnership Framework|
Following a decade of political and economic crisis, Zimbabwe is making a significant turnaround towards stabilization and recovery. The country has seen positive GDP growth rates of 5.7 % in 2009, 8.1 % in 2010 and an estimated growth rate of 9.3% in 2011. It is faced with the consolidation, albeit fragile due to political challenges, of the socio-economic gains of the transition from recovery to development. The macro-economic outlook in 2011 remained stable due to strong reforms in public finance management and this was demonstrated by the positive GDP growth rate of 9.3%, annualized inflation averaging 4% and a significant improvement in revenue collection which stood at 30% of GDP or US$3 billion, as compared with US$1.4 billion in 2009.
Despite this positive economic trend, the economy is still vulnerable to structural and other risks. These include the non-clearance of the debt arrears estimated at US$7 billion, high public sector wage bill representing 63% of the recurrent expenditure, policy inconsistency especially on implementation of the indigenization law and the outstanding reforms agreed in the 2008 GPA. The Government is taking steps to address some of the challenges and a number of political and economic reforms were initiated in 2011. The launch of the 2011-2015 Medium Term Plan (MTP) and the 2012-2015 Budget Strategy Paper will consolidate the macro-economic stability and put the economy on a strong path of sustainable development that is inclusive and equitable.
There is also momentum to finalize the drafting of the Constitution and a draft is expected to be in place in Q1 2012 for subsequent validation by a second all-stakeholders’ conference, and a referendum thereafter. The Government has earmarked US$30 million in the 2012 budget to support the implementation of outstanding GPA provisions such as the Constitution-making process, the national referendum and the constitutional commissions.
Consolidating the gains achieved so far will require further solidifying the political and economic reforms agreed in the GPA. This will entail restoration of capacities that were eroded during the crisis period, enhancing the capacity to raise domestic revenue, and the resumption of relations with the International Financial Institutions and bilateral donors in order to access development funds and to strengthen the coordination mechanism for aid and development effectiveness through a strong accountability and partnership mechanisms.
Globally, Zimbabwe remains among the countries with high HIV infection rates; it carries the third largest HIV burden in Southern Africa and has one of the highest rates of premature adult mortality, largely due to HIV related illnesses. Latest estimates place the adult HIV prevalence at 14.26 percent, which brings the estimated number of people living with HIV to 1.2 million, including 150,000 children under 15.
The UNDP CO has spearheaded support to governance reforms, including support to the implementation of key aspects of the 2008 GPA. In 2011, support was rendered to the constitution-making process and to national healing, reconciliation and integration. The two processes reinforce each other in creating a conducive environment for political dialogue necessary for nurturing sustainable peace and development.
Support to constitution-making has covered financial, procedural, substantive and advisory support throughout the lifespan of the process, from consultation, through data compilation and analysis, to drafting. A draft constitution is expected by Q1 2012. Adoption and successful implementation of a new constitution will lead to a peaceful, cohesive and prosperous Zimbabwe.
UNDP extends support to the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration in developing a Code of Conduct for Political Parties to be signed by all the major political parties and has supported the drafting of a policy to establish a permanent peace-building architecture, the National Peace and Reconciliation Council. This support is making a significant contribution to addressing politically motivated violence and has created new platforms for dialogue.
UNDP assisted the Government to formulate a pro-poor and inclusive national development strategy, the 2011-2015 Medium Term Plan (MTP). This is the first economic blueprint in a long time and provides a solid macro-economic framework for consolidating the still fragile gains of recent economic recovery. The successful implementation of the MTP, which is anchored on inclusive growth policies, will bring significant economic transformation. The MTP was extensively used in the formulation of the 2012 Budget.
To advance the principles of development effectiveness for coherent interactions between Government and development partners, UNDP is assisting the Government to put in place an Aid and Development Results Mechanism. The expected long-term impacts of this process is to ensure more transparency, accountability and that both donor and public resources are channelled towards a unified agenda, as defined in the MTP, as well as to ensure national ownership of the development process in Zimbabwe.
Through its principal recipientship of Global Fund, UNDP has supported national capacity building to deal with HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. Malaria incidence declined from 10.6% in 2007 to 4.9% in 2010; a total of 370,128 adults and children with advanced HIV are currently on ART and 84% HIV-infected pregnant women are receiving ARV prophylaxis to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV; and the survival rate of adults and children on ARV 12 months after initiation improved from under 70% in 2009 to 86.4% in 2011.
The CO in collaboaration with the Ministry of Economic Planning, Ministry of Women Affairs and the BDP spearheaded the launch of a Gender Economic Policy Management Intiative in Zimbabwe. The Initiative aims at systematically mainstream gender in economic development policy formulation processes. An inaugural 3-week course was held and it targeted Economists, Economic Planners and Budget Officers to equip them with knowledge and skills on how to incorporate gender as a key parameter in the analysis, planning and budgeting. This is with a view to enhancing their ability to interrogate policies and strategies, including formulation of national and sectoral budgets through the gender lenses. The long-term objective of this initiative is to fast-track economic policies and strategies that would narrow gender divides but also to promote women empowerment as an important catalyst for human development and in the achievement of the MDGs.
The UNDP CO programme is also making use of a multi-sector development approach to mitigate the challenge of HIV and AIDS and high poverty incidence in Zimbabwe through an integrated and coordinated approach. The HIV and AIDS scourge has posed serious development challenges to Zimbabwe where high HIV infection rates aggravate poverty levels, particularly amongst women. The UN System in Zimbabwe has responded through a multi-pronged approach that involves Government and development partners in the design and implementation of a multi-sectorial HIV response at national and decentralized level. In addition, the HIV and AIDS interventions have synergized both gender and poverty reduction initiatives in Zimbabwe by integrating these three components into the design and implementation of the HIV and AIDS programmes. In the coming programme cycle, the UN system will undertake joint annual planning and reviews to ensure cohesive and coordinated multi-sectorial action and effective monitoring of progress in the implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF).
To address the poverty-environment nexus, UNDP CO is supporting the implementation of multi-lateral environmental agreements at local level through various grassroots initiatives country-wide. Such initiatives have contributed to improving food availability and incomes at household level whilst at the same time protecting the environment. Projects such as wetland rehabilitation, organic farming, forest-based livelihoods, and natural-resource based enterprises have made communities aware of the importance of conserving and protecting the resource base for sustainable livelihoods.