Zimbabwe has been ranked the third least free country in the world, and the worst in sub-Saharan Africa, in terms of economic freedom according to a study released by the United States based right wing think-tank, Heritage Foundation.
It was ranked 176 out of 178 beating only two countries, Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which, like Zimbabwe, are under United States sanctions.
A report by a South African-based organisation last week said Zimbabweans were the poorest on the continent- an assertion that has already been disputed- because the report says Zimbabweans will become even poorer because of indigenisation.
The foundation’s Economic Freedom Index report for 2014 says Zimbabwe’s economic freedom has deteriorated by 13 points over the past 20 years, the fourth worst score drop.
“Significant declines in seven of the 10 economic freedoms include 40-point drops in scores for property rights and investment freedom. Regulatory efficiency has greatly diminished, as indicated by considerable score declines in business freedom and labour freedom,” the report says.
“Consistently rated a ‘repressed economy since 1995, Zimbabwe remains characterized by economic instability and policy volatility. The impacts of years of hyperinflation have crippled entrepreneurial activity, severely undermining realization of the country’s economic potential. A corrupt and inefficient judicial system and general lack of transparency severely exacerbate business costs.”‘
Ironically the report says Zimbabwe attained its independence in 1965 “and at that time enjoyed a diversified economy, well-developed infrastructure, and an advanced financial sector”.
Zimbabwe attained its independence in 1980 but Ian Smith declared unilateral independence for Rhodesia in 1965 sparking a bitter liberation struggle which led to his capitulation at Lancaster House in 1979.