One of Zimbabwe’s leading economists and a member of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s advisory council says the forecast by the International Monetary Fund that Zimbabwe’s economy will decline by 5 percent this year is nonsense.
Eddie Cross argues that Zimbabwe is in the process of shifting the whole basis of growth of its economy from consumption and import substitution to export led growth since adopting a market-based exchange rate.
“Global revenues to the export industries have been increased from $3.5 billion to $15.5 billion, an increase of 4.4 times,” he wrote on his blog.
“They are just waking up to this new reality and are awash with local currency. One small exporter in the South West of the country asked me ‘what do you think I should be doing with my surplus RTGS?’. A year ago he was struggling with liquidation. I advised him not to buy foreign currency as I am sure that once we can get the crooks out of the game the rate is going to strengthen. He should invest in expanding his exports.
“Our largest source of foreign currency is our amazing Diaspora – they pour at least US$3 billion a year into our economy – a year ago that was worth RTGS $4.2 billion – today its worth RTGS$12 billion. That is a growth of inflows greater than the national budget. “
Cross said it will take time for this new buying power to feed through to growth but it is coming and that is why he thinks the IMF forecast of a 5 per cent decline in our economy this year is nonsense.
“But because this growth has to come from production and not simply consumer spending – it will take time as there is a lag between the resumption of real earnings by exporters and their capacity to increase output.
“Is this the right thing to do? You bet it is! You cannot increase the wealth of a nation by just taking in each other’s washing. You must produce things.
“The Tiger economies of the Far East have transformed the lives of their people and dragged billions of people out of poverty by exporting to the world. International Trade has expanded at 15 per cent annum since the Second World War and this has been the engine of growth for the whole world.
“We have not participated in this rush for growth and it is now our turn to do so. Just look at the astonishing transformation of the economies of Rwanda and Ethiopia, now among the fastest growing economies in the world.
“For the first time in our history we have a government that is committed to backing the Zimbabwean population – we are a hardworking and enterprising people who have spent our lives trying to survive bad government. Now we need to get down to business, stop whingeing and make our own way into the future. I cannot think of another country that offers so much opportunity to a person who wants to ‘give it a go!’ “
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