‘Zimbabwe now the fastest growing economy in Africa’ – Mnagagwa




Emmerson Mnangagwa

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s economy is arguably the fastest growing on the African continent this year due to sound policies being implemented by, President Mnangagwa has said.

Economic growth translates to tangible progress in people’s lives and in Zimbabwe this is already visible in the improvement in infrastructures such as roads, bridges, and dams.

There is also a better health delivery system, which has seen one of the best Covid-19 vaccination programmes on the continent; more jobs, enhanced food security as well as better social protection, among other factors.

The President’s remarks have already been backed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which have both projected Zimbabwe’s economy to grow above its continental peers this year.

The IMF has put Zimbabwe’s growth rate at six percent, while the World Bank has pegged it at 3,9 percent, with both figures higher than the 3,4 percent forecast that both institutions have projected for the rest of Africa.

In his Mid-Term Budget Review Statement in July, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube put the country’s economic growth rate at 7,8 percent and said this would translate into an improvement in the lives of ordinary people and the creation of more jobs by year-end after the country successfully emerged from the harsh period of austerity between 2018 and 2020.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Zimplats and Palmline Holdings cattle ranching project in Mhondoro-Ngezi on Thursday, the President said the rate of progress for Zimbabwe’s economy was ahead of its counterparts on the continent.

Diverting from his prepared speech, President Mnangagwa explained the growth trajectory that the country was undertaking.

“Those who imposed sanctions on us are disappointed that Zimbabwe today is rising. We are rising, the economy is rising. Our institutions are growing, our institutions are strengthening and our democracy is taking root.

“Our Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has just told you that this year’s economic growth will be 7,8 percent. That is the biggest growth rate on the continent, despite the sanctions. Why, because we have remained united, we have focused on the things that we have, which we are using to develop our country. And today we are witnessing this launch. That is a development that does not speak of poverty,” said the President.

“We shall see this country developing year by year, you will see infrastructure development in this country,” he added.

Since embarking on its economic reforms in 2018, Zimbabwe has been on its own and has not received external support, unlike other countries.

However, last week, the country received its US$1 billion Special Drawing Rights from the IMF, giving further oomph to the economic recovery programme.

In yet another positive development, the World Bank has indicated that it is pushing for Zimbabwe to get more funds instead of the small amounts it is currently receiving after the Bretton Woods institution said it was pleased with the country’s economic growth despite being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking after meeting Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Health Minister, in the capital on Thursday, World Bank executive director for Africa Group 1 Constituency, Dr Taufila Nyamadzabo, acknowledged the growth of the Zimbabwean economy and said they had discussed the possibility of availing more funds to Harare.

Currently, Zimbabwe only qualifies for technical funding from the World Bank, largely due to its debt and arrears to the global financier.

“The other issues, of course, are addressing the rare situation of Zimbabwe, so that it can move to a non-accrual country, in that case, it will be able to get major loans instead of small amounts that it has been getting from trust funds so that its ability to get enough funding to move forward,” Dr. Nyamadzabo said.

He revealed that they discussed the vaccine rollout campaign in the country, and was satisfied that Zimbabwe was on course to reach herd immunity.

Economic and political analysts said Zimbabwe deserved the impressive ratings it was getting from international institutions.

Political analyst, Dr Gift Gwindingwe, said:

“It seems the Bretton Woods institutions are warming up to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery programmes now, with keen interest to re-engage the former breadbasket of SADC. The economic recovery path taken by the Second Republic seems to be telling an encouraging story.”

Economic analyst, Professor Gift Mugano, said the World Bank’s comments are very positive for the economy and boost investor confidence.

“Clearly the Word Bank is the ‘Commissioner of Oaths of International confidence’ and signals to international institutions. Those comments mean a lot. The opposite is true also because if they say something negative, it kills investor confidence.

“I am not surprised, I saw it coming. Previously I said the country‘s inflation will below 100 percent by 2022 but people dismissed me. Now the inflation is at 50 percent and I project that it will be below 30 % by next year,” he said. – Sunday Mail