EU Relations with Zimbabwe

The EU's objective is the full normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe in the attainment of the country's aspirations, which include consolidation of democracy, peace and stability, prosperity and sustainable development.

Key issues in EU - Zimbabwe relations

Responding to the Global Political Agreement and the Government of National Unity in 2009, and to the adoption in 2013 of a progressive Constitution, the EU took steps towards gradually normalising relations with Zimbabwe. On November 2014, the appropriate measures taken in 2002 in response to political violence expired, enabling a multi-year cooperation with Zimbabwe under the 11th European Development Fund. 

The EU is currently Zimbabwe's third major trading partner. Zimbabwe signed and ratified in 2012 the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (i-EPA) under the ESA region.

Development Assistance

The EU has provided development assistance since independence in 1980, targeting the needs of the population, and is the third biggest donor to Zimbabwe. The strategic objective of the EU's development cooperation with Zimbabwe is to reduce poverty and to support peace and stability, by supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and promoting human rights, democracy and rule of law.

A €234 million National Indicative Programme for the period 2014-2020 was signed in February 2015. It concentrates on three sectors, jointly selected with the Government of Zimbabwe:

  • The EU aims at improving health outcomes for the population of Zimbabwe by supporting the National Health System and increasing equitable access to quality health services.
  • The EU supports economic development based on sustainable agriculture to assure food security and resilience of the most vulnerable populations, generate employment and income, and increase export earnings.
  • Finally, the EU focuses on institutional strengthening, fostering good governance to contribute to economic recovery and the consolidation of the democratic process. The EU supports public finance management and institution building such as the Judiciary and Zimbabwe electoral Commission.

Regional cooperation:

  • Zimbabwe is a member of both SADC and COMESA. Under the 11th EDF, SADC, COMESA, the East Africa Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) are covered under the same Regional Indicative Programme of € 1,332 million.
  • Assistance focuses on three sectors: i) peace, security and regional stability; ii) regional economic integration; and iii) regional natural resources management. Regional infrastructure migration, wildlife, river and aquifer management, sustainable fisheries (including inland) and maritime security receive an allocation.