Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube is upbeat about his economic roadmap, the National Development Strategy 1 for the years 2021-2025 and believes Zimbabwe is on course to become an upper middle income country by 2030 when it completes its NDS 2.
He says Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product will grow by 7.4 percent in 2021. This will slow down to 5.5 percent the following year and then to 5.2 for the next two years and finally to 5 percent by 2025.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research in the United Kingdom, however, argues that Mthuli Ncube is too optimistic.
It says that though Zimbabwe has survived the coronavirus pandemic the fall in activity throughout the global economy had fed through into the domestic economy.
“2020 was a difficult year for the economy of Zimbabwe, with GDP contracting by an anticipated 10.4%. Between 2021 and 2025, CEBR forecasts that the annual rate of GDP growth will accelerate to an average of 2.6%,” CEBR says in its report.
“However, over the remainder of the forecast horizon, economic growth is expected to decline to an average of 2.2% per year. This growth trajectory will see Zimbabwe fall from 129th place in the World Economic League Table in 2020 to 133rd in the global rankings by 2035.”
If this prediction is true then Zimbabwe may not be able to move from the lower middle income to the upper middle income group.
But CEBR said Zimbabwe’s per capita for 2020 is US $2 583 which means it should increase this by less than double over the next decade.
This seems a mammoth task but Mnangagwa has little choice. Turning around the country’s fortunes is his only ticket to re-election in 2023. And he seems to be gaining the confidence of farmers and the business community- two critical sectors that can catapult the country into an upper middle income economy.