Richard Muponde and Emmanuel Kafe
ZIMBABWE’s economy is arguably the fastest growing on the African continent this year due to the sound policies being implemented by the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa has said.
Economic growth translates to tangible progress in people’s lives and in Zimbabwe this is already visible: in the improvement of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and dams; 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 high than the 3, 4 percent forecast that both institutions have set for the rest of Africa.
In his mid-term budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in July put the country’s economic growth rate at 7,8 percent, underlying that this will translate to improvement of lives for the people and creation of more jobs by year end after the country successfully emerged from the harsh period of austerity from 2018 to 2020.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the ZimPlats and Palmline Holdings cattle ranching project in Mhondoro-Ngezi on Thursday, President Mnangagwa 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 is 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 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 development.
That does not speak of poverty. We shall see this country developing year by year, you will see infrastructure development in this country,” he said.
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 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, 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 to the global financier.
Dr Nyamadzabo revealed that they discussed the vaccine rollout campaign in the country, and was satisfied that Zimbabwe was on course to reach herd immunity.