Tough year ahead for Zimbabwe?


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Other experts disagree, pointing to constrained investment inflows and continued headwinds for companies and the economy.

According to Odero, the African Development Bank expects some recovery next year, “depending on the impact of economic and investment [attraction] efforts by the government”.

Another financial and economic expert, Malcolm Hove, was also sceptical of a rebound this year.

“Unless something drastic happens, contraction will continue given the poor business environment, policy inconsistencies, lack of respect for property rights, corruption and devastating drought,” said Hove.

Tendai Biti, former Zimbabwe finance minister and member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), says incompetence by government will worsen the plight of Zimbabweans this year.

The MDC is contesting the election of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018, arguing that he stole the vote and is thus an illegitimate leader.

“The economy will contract by 13% this year. This is not a mere decline in GDP. Unmitigated incompetence, illegitimacy, zero confidence, corruption and misgovernance are at the centre of this dramatic collapse. [This is] the worst government in the world,” Biti said.

Mbeki has stepped into the fray to nudge Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa to join hands to find solutions for Zimbabwe.

Mbeki is expected back in Zimbabwe to continue mediation, which started last month, to help end the political impasse.

“We are hopeful that Mbeki’s mediation will bring some good news, especially as we start the new year. We are struggling and there is bad news all over, which makes us lose hope,” said Tecla Mushingano, a 48-year-old janitor at an office complex in Harare.

Another industrial worker in Harare said: “All we want is to be able to take care of our families, send our children to school and put food on the table without struggling. Right now, every day brings new challenges and there is so much expected of you as a parent, but we are hurting deep down.”

The government insists that the economy will take a turn for the better this year, with Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube banking on tax collection efficiencies, a strengthening of accountability and a new tax management system to drum up resources for treasury.

“The three things that keep me awake at night are food, power availability and currency stability. We have to do everything to stabilise the Zimbabwean dollar-“-And we have to keep government expenditure under control so that we don’t have excessive money supply,” said Ncube.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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