Lilongwe – The African Development Bank (AfDB) says Zimbabwe’s economic growth could this year outstrip that of any other African country bar one, driven by strong agricultural output, attractive global mineral prices and massive infrastructure development.
Following headwinds posed by cyclones, droughts and the COVID-19 pandemic over the past couple of years, Zimbabwe is rebounding.
Official government figures project growth of 7.8 percent this year, which is 0.4 percent higher than initially projected.
According to the AfDB, Djibouti could be the only African country to grow faster than Zimbabwe this year, with the East African country benefiting from recovery of port activities and demand for its services as a logistics hub.
The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Dr John Mangudya has said, “Zimbabwe’s growth is higher than most countries in SADC. Zimbabwe is on growth trajectory that no one can dispute unless they challenge it from an uninformed position. Objectively, the economy is growing but we are not saying there is no poverty.”
Dr Mangudya cautioned that Zimbabwe’s strong economic performance was not yet sufficiently inclusive to eradicate poverty but the country was on the right track.
The central bank chief said output from key productive sectors was on an upward trend spurred by improved access to affordable foreign currency for key imports.
The sustained growth trajectory revolves around the country’s National Development Strategy 1, the economic blueprint being pushed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Strict adherence to fiscal targets, which this year ear marked 30 percent of the total purse for capital projects, has allowed the treasury to channel significant tax revenues towards funding key projects like dams, roads, bridges and other public infrastructure.
However, the IMF and World Bank, while confirming they too expect Zimbabwe’s economy to grow this year, project lower growth at six percent and 3.9 percent respectively, which is still significant.
Meanwhile, a statement from Zimbabwe’s central bank shows that the total foreign exchange payments for January 2021 to August 2021 amounted to just over US$4 billion.
Sixty percent went towards raw materials, machinery and equipment imports, and the remainder to consumables, pharmaceuticals and other critical needs.