Zimbabwe’s government signed a $3.5 billion deal to compensate White commercial farmers who were evicted from their land two decades ago. The agreement is a turning point in a dispute that tipped the southern African nation’s economy into freefall by slashing food production and export income and prompted sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union.
The government plans to sell a 30-year bond on international markets to pay for the compensation, according to the agreement it signed with the farmers. Those whose land was expropriated will receive half their money in a year and the balance in four equal installments annually. A committee has been formed by the government, farmers and donors to help raise the funding, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said at the ceremony.
It is unclear how Zimbabwe will carry out the bond sale, given that the nation is battling inflation of more than 700%, faces shortages of currency, fuel and food, and more than 90% of the population is out of formal employment.