News

    Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Pleads For Outside Help

    Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti called for what he called "strategic engagement" from countries like the United States to help his country both economically and politically.
    Zimbabwe Finance Minister Tendai Biti called for what he called "strategic engagement" from countries like the United States to help his country both economically and politically.
    Nico Colombant

    Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Tendai Biti, says his country has a mixed record in terms of economic policies during a three-year power-sharing unity government. He also warns there has been no progress in terms of preparing better elections, which in the past have been marred by widespread violence and fraud.

    At the Atlantic Council think tank Thursday, Biti, pleaded for outside help, both in terms of improving electoral conditions before it is too late, and in helping Zimbabwe’s economy.

    Economic successes he outlined included dropping the Zimbabwean dollar as the official currency, which helped tame massive hyperinflation, and removing previous government restrictions such as price controls.

    "The biggest thing which we did was to restore trust in the market, because we have been predictable, we have been consistent, and I have said if there is anyone who is going to push me to carry out a measure that I do not agree with, if anyone is going to force me to retain the Zimbabwean dollar, I will quit and go back to my law firm," Biti said.

    A current power struggle concerns so-called indigenization policies, pushed forward by Zimbabwe’s black empowerment ministry.  

    Black Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, from President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, said earlier this month the government had taken majority ownership of all foreign-owned mining companies. But his claim was immediately disputed by Mugabe’s political rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

    The prime minister is the head of the Movement for Democratic Change, of which Biti is the secretary-general.

    Biti said that while he understood the aim of indigenization and what he called "resource nationalism," in order to give citizens sustainable access to the wealth of their country, he called its implementation in Zimbabwe a "disaster."

    "You are just transferring shares from a few rich, white people, to a few rich, black people so it is not democratization. It is just elite transfer. So it was not well thought out. And the true due process is not sufficiently being followed, so I think it is a program that we need to go back to the drawing board and then say genuinely how can we empower people," Biti said.

    He listed other challenges including massive debt, very little foreign direct investment and much lower diamond-mining revenues than the government was expecting.

    In terms of politics, Biti warned that if the current opportunity for successful elections is not met, any economic progress Zimbabwe has made could be erased.

    Elections are expected by next year, but 88-year-old President Mugabe, in power for more than three decades and once again a candidate, has said he wants to hold them as soon as possible.

    Biti had harsh words for President Mugabe.

    "If you have a party that is placing its hopes in somebody who is 88 years old, I think there is something wrong with that. If you are 88 years, you belong to a people’s home, you belong to a wheelchair. To place the fate of a country to an 88-year-old, with great respect, I am not a member of ZANU-PF, but with great respect, it is an insult to present generations. We need renewal in Zimbabwe,” Biti said.

    Mugabe has said he is still leading Zimbabwe to correct wrongs from the brutal colonial past of what was then white-minority rule Rhodesia.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mutetwa
    April 22, 2012 4:39 AM
    The MDC rhetoric has become quite confusing, The GNU was formed to map out a new constitution and reshape the electoral voting system to pave the way for free and fair elections A.S.A.P. However Four years later nothing on the table!!!! and you expect us to believe anything BITI and MORGAN say !!! Both MEN have has passed their sell-by date.

    by: Obi Ifeanyi
    April 21, 2012 2:51 AM
    President Mugabe has no future 4 Zimbabwe, he shoud step dawn for d youth who has vision for the country because the strenght of a nation is their youth. No nation can develop economically, politically and socially were the old men are in power.

    by: fraser
    April 19, 2012 7:51 PM
    Rightly said Biti there is a sinister motive in Zanu pf which is likely meant to perpetuate their rule.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora