Makoni insisted 40 percent of white farmers could get back their land


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Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni, whom the United States embassy described as a potential president, insisted that a future government in Zimbabwe could return up to 40 percent of white farmers to a portion of their land.

He told this to United States congressional staffer Malik Chaka when he visited the country in August 2003.

Chaka met several leading businessmen including Standard Chartered Bank chief executive Washington Matsaira who said he believed that Zimbabweans were smarter, better-educated and harder-working than most Africans.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 03HARARE1677, Businessmen foresee recovery (somehow)

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE1677

2003-08-26 06:36

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

260636Z Aug 03

UNCLAS HARARE 001677

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

STATE FOR AF/S

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

USDOC FOR 2037 DIEMOND

TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW

PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER

STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

 

E. O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ECON EINV PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: Businessmen foresee recovery (somehow)

 

 

1. (U) Summary: Local businessmen assured a visiting

congressional staffer that the Zimbabwean economy can

regain past prowess. While despairing of the present

economic climate, the businessmen’s medium-term

hopefulness stunned our visitor, a seasoned Zimbabwe-

watcher. Although we share our interlocutors’ faith in

this economy’s ultimate potential, we are less sanguine

about a rapid rebound. End Summary.

 

2. (SBU) Malik Chaka, majority staffer for the Africa

Subcommittee of the House International Relations

Committee, met a plethora of movers-and-shakers during an

August 19-26 visit to Zimbabwe. (A readout of political

meetings will follow via septel.) On the economic side,

Chaka sat down with former Finance Minister Simba Makoni,

Finance PermSec Nick Ncube, Banker’s Association

President (and Standard Chartered CEO) Washington

Matsaira, Stanbic CEO Pindi Nyandoro and a dozen reps of

various U.S. businesses.

 

3. (SBU) Unsurprisingly, the executives were in broad

agreement that the economy is in dire straits. Most

consider President Mugabe incapable of improving business

conditions, as reflected in yet another failure recently

to normalize oil procurement and sales through

multinational companies. However, they believe a

successor government could restore the economy to late-

1990 levels. A few salient details:

 

– They still consider Zimbabweans smarter, better-

educated and harder-working than most Africans. Standard

Chartered CEO Matsaira said the years he spent in Uganda

convinced him of Zimbabweans’ superior skills.

 

– Several interlocutors expressed horror at the National

Railway’s state, agreeing it is the most critical

component in the economic infrastructure.

 

– The businessmen believe reformalizing rather than

reproaching Zimbabwe’s black/gray economy holds an

important key to economic rebound.

 

– Most believe a recovery to 1997 levels will take 3-6

years.

 

– Some business reps feel that land redistribution may be

reversible in part. Former Finance Minister Makoni, a

potential president, insists a future GOZ could return up

to 40 percent of white farmers to a portion of their

land.

 

Comment

——-

4. (SBU) Many of these views strike us as extravagantly

hopeful. We do not believe this economy can grow 67

percent in 3-6 years (to return to 1997 levels, assuming

a 40 percent cumulative drop has taken place), even under

the best of circumstances. Although it would no doubt

help to reformalize economic activity that has gone

underground, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure

(including the education and health systems) is a long-

term endeavor. We are also skeptical that a future

government could reactivate anywhere near 40 percent of

white farmers. That said, we would love for eternally-

optimistic Zimbabweans to prove us wrong.

 

Sullivan

 

(6 VIEWS)

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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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