JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe’s economy is in tatters following years of isolation under former president Robert Mugabe.
Incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who will run for re-election in Monday’s general elections, wants to turn the economy around.
He has vowed to re-engage with the West and has already scrapped much of the unpopular indigenisation laws that forced foreign firms to cede 51 percent stakes to locals, and has campaigned relentlessly on a promise to revive the economy, AFP reported.
Hyperinflation was triggered and the agricultural sector ruined after the seizure of white-owned farms under Mugabe. The GDP halved between 2000 and 2008.
Education and health services also collapsed while millions left the country for employment opportunities abroad. Poverty rates are still climbing.
The forthcoming elections offer a chance for an economic turnaround.
For this to happen the government has to relax levels of control which adversely affected business and fight corruption, explained Zimbabwean economist John Robertson.
“Farmers need their property rights back so that they can use that to borrow money from banks. We did ourselves national damage and we have got to correct that,” said Robertson.
– African News Agency (ANA)