Does Makoni have a magic wand to revive Zimbabwe’s economy?


Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni was recently quoted as saying that Zimbabwe could boost its gross domestic product to $100 billion before 2020. “We can actually achieve a US$100 billion economy before 2020 if we do the right things — it’s feasible in this economy,” he was quoted as saying.

It is not clear whether this was Makoni’s simple explanation, or perhaps the writer’s own understanding, but the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader reportedly said:

“In 2002 we produced 240 million kgs of tobacco before we had taken the land. We produced 2.4 million to 2.5 million tonnes of maize from the communal areas not from the commercial farms. We produced 350 tonnes of cotton from Gokwe, Muzarabani, Chiredzi, Mwenezi and today there is completely nothing.

“Let’s remove the impediments that inhibit citizens from doing things for themselves, don’t arrest business managers for running their businesses, and don’t take away the little money that has been hard earned by citizens from their accounts.”

True, while removing impediments could indeed improve the country’s total wealth, Zimbabwe needs nothing short of a miracle –or a discovery of massive oils wells- for its GDP to reach $100 billion by 2020.

Zimbabwe’s GDP is currently estimated at $10.5 billion. For it to reach $100 billion in less than seven years, or within the next seven years, the economic would have to grow by not less than 41 percent a year.

No country has achieved that during the past decade, including countries like China, now the world’s second largest economy.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Qatar recorded the highest average growth in the past decade- from 2003 to 2013. Its average growth was 13.4 percent with the highest growth being in 2006 when it recorded a 26.2 percent growth.

Azerbaijan was in second place with 12.6 percent. It highest growth was 34.5 also in 2006.

Turkmenistan which was in third place had its highest growth of only 17.1 percent in 2003 but averaged 11.6 percent over the decade.

The African country topping the list was Libya, which was in fourth place. It had an average growth of 11.4 percent but this was boosted by an estimated growth of 121.9 percent last year after a slump of a staggering 60 percent the previous year. Libya is expected to grow by only 16.7 percent this year.

Two other African countries were in the top 10 performers. These were Equatorial Guinea in fifth place with a 10.8 percent average and Angola in sixth place with 10.4 percent.

Zimbabwe’s average growth was estimated at 5 percent. This was not bad at all as it was on number 59 out of 217 with South Sudan anchoring the list.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for democratic Change also aimed for the $100 billion target, but says it will be achieved by 2040.

Either way, Zimbabwe would have catapulted itself into the “first world” if it achieves that GDP. But it will be an uphill task.

At the moment, there is confusion as to what Zimbabwe’s GDP really is. According to the latest government statistics, the GDP was $6.1 billion in 2009. It rose to $6.7 billion in 2010 and stood at $7.4 billion in 2011.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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