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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid