Zimbabwe has agreed to give more than $5 billion in compensation to white farmers who had land taken from them nearly two decades ago, but there are concerns that the bankrupt nation won’t be able to pay up.
After 10 years of politically charged negotiations, an agreement was finally struck on Monday.
The Zimbabwean government agreed to pay about 50 per cent of the value of the capital assets, covering buildings, livestock and machinery, which amounts to just over $A5 billion shared between 3200 evicted farmers.
The agreement is expected to be signed within weeks but it is being treated with caution. Zimbabwe is bankrupt and is suffering from high inflation rates and food shortages. The government in Harare is currently unable to get international loans, or import enough fuel for its population.
Zimbabwe’s white farmers formed the bedrock of the southern African nation’s economy.
However before the end of white rule in 1980, black Africans could not buy land in areas set aside for white people.
Twenty years ago many were chased off the land by government supporters and several farmers were killed and their homes burnt down. Much of the land still lies unused to this day.
One farmer who attended the Commercial Farmers Union briefing said: “We don’t believe Zimbabwe will ever have money to pay us.
“But maybe one day my grandchildren will get some of the money.”
Notably, the deal does not include any compensation for the value of the land as Zimbabwe says it was originally seized by mostly British settlers and the UK is responsible for paying evicted white farmers for the territory.
The Telegraph, London