Zimbabwe Agrees to Pay $3.5 Billion Compensation to White Farmers

Zimbabwean finance minister Mthuli Ncube. (Image via Russell Roberts)

Steps to resolve one of the largest issues of the Robert Mugabe government have finally made headway. To compensate land seized by the government to resettle African families, Zimbabwe will pay out nearly $3.5 billion to white farmers in light of their relocation.

What We Know:

  • One issue that immediately arose was the fact that this African nation does not have the money to follow through with this plan. To deal with the burden of funding, the compensation agreement will issue long term bonds and seek out international donations from other farmers to raise money.
  • During Mugabe’s rule nearly two decades ago, his government proceeded to evict thousands of white farmers, at times violently. The land was later given back to about 300,000 Black families, under the motive that was addressing the historic issues of colonialism.
  • The current President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, signed off on the agreement in the State House office in Harare. Under the nation’s constitution, white farmers would only be compensated for infrastructure on the land being taken away, but not the land itself.
  • The amount of money each farmer would get has yet to be specified, but the government has said that the elderly population will take priority when it comes to making the new settlements. According to CNN, farmers will receive 50% of the $3.5 billion within a year of signing and the rest of the balance will be paid out within five years.
  • Agriculture Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube have signed on behalf of the government. Various farmer unions, along with another foreign association that helped revise financial details, signed the agreement as well.
  • Mugabe, who passed away last year, was forced to resign as a result of a military coup in 2017. He later accused the West of wanting to apply sanctions on the government as a consequence. The expropriation of land from white farmers now was originally one of Mugabe’s trademark policy to mend ties with the West.

This recent agreement is still met with resistance as the opposition feels it could be detrimental to a country already suffering from starvation and extreme drought since December. On the other hand, its supporters praise it for empowering black people without land.