I do not begrudge Zimbabwe’s much touted “highest economic growth rate in Africa” – since, why would any right-thinking citizen not wish to live happily and prosperously, in a well-developed country, whereby each and every person enjoys the fruits of the land?
Only someone who is sick in the mind would actually wish this own country harm, and finds perverted pleasure in its misfortunes or demise.
Notwithstanding this fact, we all need to celebrate what is genuine – real national development that truly translates into a higher standard of living for the country’s citizenry.
Thus, as much as those in power can boast of Zimbabwe’s economic growth rate “topping the continent” – let us be a bit more realistic in our analyses.
Indeed, based at the 2021 growth rate of 7.4% – the southern African country is at the top of the mountain.
However, what does this exactly mean in laymen’s terms?
Well, let us look at it this way – say, we have an entrepreneur, who declared a measly profit of only US$5 yesterday, but today increased this to a still paltry US$10.
Yet, when looked at this profit increment from a percentage perspective – this would mean an incredible 100% “growth”.
Admittedly, if this business person wanted to put a clever spin to this shameful performance, he could easy portray this as him having grown his profit margins by a staggering 100% – of which, would be the absolute truth.
More so, if maybe his fellow entrepreneurs managed to move their daily profits from, let us say, US$89 yesterday, to US$90 today (making this only a 1.12% “growth”), or even moved downwards from US$95 to US$93 (a shrinking of -2.11%).
Clearly, based on these figures, the first business person (who only made US$10 profit today) could boast of “topping the profit growth rate” with his 100% – as compared to his competitors, who had a 1.12% and -2.11% growth (and, even depression) respectively (in sprite of them actually still making far much more money).
Therefore, in real terms, he would still be the worse performing entrepreneur in his group – as he still only managed to make US$10, whilst others were in the US$90 – in spite of their “not too impressive” percentage growth rates.
That is exactly the same scenario our own Zimbabwe finds itself.
Regardless of the overly-touted 7.4% economic growth rate in 2021 being one of the highest on the continent – the country still performed quite poorly, with a GDP (gross domestic product) of an estimated US$22 billion – compared to the US$514.05 billion by Nigeria, and US$394.28 billion of Egypt.
At the end of the day, Zimbabwe is still the “laughing stock” of the African continent!
On top of this, we have an annual inflation rate that has ballooned to a shocking 72.7% – only second to Sudan’s 263.2% as at March 2022 – whilst, our local currency freefalls to ZW$400 for US$1 at the more believable parallel market, with nearly half the population living in extreme poverty earning less than US$1.90 a day.
As an average civil servant receiving a miserable ZW$30,000 – the April 2022 food poverty datum line (FPL) stands at an unbelievable ZW$8,366, and total consumption poverty line at ZW$11,363 for only one person – of course, figures that have since skyrocketed after the recent astronomical price increases of basic commodities.
With these dismal and depressing truths in mind, I beg the question – why would there be anyone still supporting this ruinous and clueless ZANU PF regime?
As the situation pertains today – under a government known more for its impulsive, knee-jerk, and thoughtless economic policies (the recent instalment in an unending List of Shame, being the warped and unlawful banning of banks from lending), as well as a high propensity for corruption and looting – even those so-called “empowerment programs” attracting many to ZANU PF, will be failing pretty soon.
It is high time these Zimbabweans realized the folly of blindly supporting a political entity, and government, that is busy running down the economy – to the point of turning the population, including the said supporters, into paupers and beggars – yet, the ruling elite, and their scandalous business friends, indulge themselves with the nation’s resources, as they line their pockets.
The reason those in power will never genuinely address the well-known disparities with the exchange rate – especially, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) seriously flawed and fraudulent auction system – is because, the main beneficiaries of these distortions are those aligned to the ruling class.
They are the ones procuring foreign currency from the RBZ auction system at concessionary rates, then quickly channelling it onto the black market to make a handsome profit – which, is then stored away somewhere safe from the national purse.
As long as Zimbabwe still has those who refuse to stand up against this gross plundering of our country’s wealth – for the benefit of only a few – then, these people have no one else to blame, except themselves, when eventually they lose even those peanuts they were being “bought” with (packaged as “employment projects”), since they also will not survive under such an economically hostile environment.
We need for Zimbabweans to wake up – particularly, those still living in the deception of benefiting from the ruling ZANU PF party – that, if this abuse of our country’s resources continues unchallenged, then no one will be spared the disaster that is inevitably following.
© Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer researcher, and social commentator. Please feel free to contact him on WhatsApp/Call: +263715667700 / +263782283975, or Calls Only: +263788897936 / +263733399640, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org