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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora