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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs