The Economic Report for Africa has announced the top economic performers in Africa, and surprisingly, the economy in Zimbabwe is in the top 10. Most of the better-performing countries rely on oil, minerals, or both of these elements, in order to stay afloat economically. Dr. Desire Sibanda, the Secretary for Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, presented a paper during the launch of the book, “Understanding Poverty, Promoting Well-being and Sustainable Development,” on May 23, 2013 in Harare. She made a comment that Zimbabwe used to be one of the lowest economic performers in the continent, but that its positive economic policies have turned the economy around, to the point that it is now thriving compared to many other African countries.
Apparently, the economy in Zimbabwe is now at the same economic standing as growing countries such as Libya, Ghana, Malawi, and Mozambique. All of these countries’ economies are growing at an incredible rate. Even though Zimbabwe had the worst economy in 2008, it is clear they have turned things around. By 2012, the top 10 economic performers on the Economic Report for Africa reached the 7% growth threshold that was the necessary prerequisite to achieve the Millennium development Goals by 2015. Put simply, they had reached their 2012 goal, and of course, this includes the economy in Zimbabwe. Other countries that have reached this goal include Sierra Leone and Ethiopia, showing that many economies in Africa are actually growing, even while some are failing.
In 2008, the government of Zimbabwe helped the economy of Zimbabwe by starting the Short-Term Recovery Programme, which attempted to stabilize the economy on a macro-scale. Many of the reasons poverty was high in Zimbabwe, while the economy struggled, were caused by droughts, floods, HIV and AIDs, and de-institutionalization. The short-term economic plan targeted as many of these issues as it could, and clearly, produced a positive result. Through STERP, inflation in Zimbabwe was reduced to 7.7 percent in December 2009, which is an incredible feat compared to the inflation in July 2008, which was 231 million percent. The program targeted inflation and reduced it to manageable levels; as a comparison, inflation in the United States is 1.1 percent as of 2013, so Zimbabwe is not too far off.
Dr. Sibanda also noted that although some African countries would probably not reach the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 due to faltering economies, the economy of Zimbabwe is strong enough that she predicts they will achieve goals 2, 3, as well as 6. Goal 2 is achieving universal primary education, goal 3 is promoting gender equality and empowering women, and goal 6 is combating HIV and AIDs, malaria, and other diseases. These are all important goals to achieve. In addition, poverty in Zimbabwe has reduced slightly, so although Zimbabwe may not eradicate poverty by 2015, there will be improvement.
The economy in Zimbabwe has also seen improvements in regards to the Gross Domestic Product growth. The GDP growth of Zimbabwe was more than 7 percent between 2009 and 2011, which can be compared to Hong Kong, whose economy only grew 5 percent in that time frame. Its growth began with the adoption of the U.S. dollar, as well as the South African rand as official currencies in 2009. There has also been an increase in sales of stamps and raw materials. Although there have been various political problems in Zimbabwe over the past few years, particularly in regards to ongoing political instability, it has not seemed to hinder its economic growth. Overall, despite other issues within Zimbabwe, the rapid growth of Zimbabwe’s economy is a cause for optimism and celebration; if a country like Zimbabwe can turn its economy around, certainly other struggling countries have hope for the future.
– Corina Balsamo