Zimbabweans are expecting the power-sharing agreement signed Monday in Harare to deliver them from the economic hardships they have endured for almost a decade. But analysts warn there is no quick fix to the country's problems and a lot of foreign money and time is needed to get things anywhere near normal. Tendai Maphosa has this report for VOA from Harare.
Many Zimbabweans are cautiously optimistic the power sharing deal between Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change as the key that will unlock the door to better times.
This man's sentiments sum up the mood of the hundreds who gathered outside the venue where the deal was sealed on Monday:
"Any type of agreement is a step forward for a new beginning, rebuilding the nation, putting the past behind us and working together for the common good of all Zimbabweans and also hopefully joining the world community," he said. "We cannot continue to live in isolation and at the same time letting the living standards of the people deteriorate; this is welcome."
A supporter of the ZANU-PF party told VOA President Robert Mugabe had no choice but to cede some of his power.
"I think he is giving up his power so the country can prosper," the man said.
But economist Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe cautions that prosperity could take some time coming.
"Firstly, the agreement will obviously mean an improvement. But I think it is important to sort of damp down expectations," Hawkins said. "It is not going to be easy to get food into the shops easily and Morgan Tsvangirai spoke yesterday about affordable food. That is very difficult unless the government is going to subsidize, but it does not have the money to do that. As for electricity I think the power cuts have never been worse than in the last couple of weeks and again foreign funding, if it becomes available, would help to open up supplies of fuel, electricity and inputs for agriculture and so on."
Hawkins cautioned that things could only improve if international donors keep their promises to help get Zimbabwe's collapsed economy back on its feet, once there is political change in the country.
Though foreign donors have described the deal as a positive move, they are still studying the details of the agreement. They also want to see evidence that prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai who, under the terms of the agreement, is to run the day-to-day affairs of the government actually has the power to do so.
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said a decision about lifting sanctions on Zimbabwean officials had been postponed until October. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said Zimbabwe's new administration would have to make significant progress before lifting sanctions can be considered.