News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Economy on Recovery Path

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister says his country’s economy is on the path to recovery after decades of decline and will meet all its financial obligations for this year. .

Cars speed along in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city.  The formation of a coalition government in 2009 by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has led to the sound of constant activity in the city.

There is life!

Before, the city was almost dead as was the country’s economy.  

Tendai Biti was appointed Zimbabwean Finance Minister in 2009 when almost every commodity was in short supply.  Inflation was running wild then, but is now the lowest in the southern Africa region.

“By the end of the year we would have reduced our primary balance to zero, in other words our books will balance and we are not going to carry a deficit in 2013," Biti says when speaking of 2012. "For a finance minister this is pleasing because we are eating what we are killing. ”

That zero primary balance only applies to domestic debt. The African country has a $10 billion foreign debt.

In September, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised concerns over the failure by Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe to honor their commitments to pay their financial debts.

The finance minister says he would ensure the foreign debt remains in check and he will not commit where the country cannot sustain the obligation.

“It is bad economics and we do not practice bad economics,” Biti says.

One of the big economic problems facing the country is the funding of elections and a constitutional referendum in 2013.

Recently Biti told journalists that funding of the polls was giving him a headache as 2012 ends.

“2013, the biggest challenge is funding the elections and the referendum," says Biti. "t is clear that our resources are not going to be enough. It is quite clear that the international community has to come in for assistance.”

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission wants nearly $200 million for the elections and the referendum.

African leaders want a new constitution in Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections. On several occasions President Mugabe has threatened to hold elections under the current constitution.

Lovemore Madhuku, a professor from the University of Zimbabwe, thinks time is running out for President Mugabe who turns 89 years old in February. Mr. Mugabe will be the Zanu PF party presidential candidate running against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate, Prime Minister Tsvangirai who is 60 years old.

“If we delay elections four, five months after that [February 2013], the mentality would be that the president is now 90 years. And those kind of things would work against him, I see an election coming as soon as possible more like around end of March," says Madhuku. "If he does not do that means he has totally failed to have an election according to his own plan and the MDC would have won there. He might not want that.”

Zimbabwe’s agricultural-based economy took a nosedive in early 2000 when Mugabe embarked on a chaotic and violent land reform exercise targeting white commercial farmers.  But now the economy has improved since the creation of the unity government in 2009 but it still has to figure out a way to pay for the constitutional referendum and elections planned for 2013.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid