Zimbabwe ranked poorest country in Africa but figures don’t tally


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Zimbabwe is now the poorest country in Africa with a wealth per capita of only $200, a report by South African-based New World Wealth released today says.

But there is a huge discrepancy between this figure, which is for 2015, and the gross domestic product per capita for 2014 released by the World Bank which put the figure at $475.26.

New World Wealth says Zimbabwe is the only country whose per capita wealth has been on the decline between 2000 and 2015, but the World Bank figures show that though Zimbabwe’s GDP per capita dropped to its lowest in 2008, it was on the rise since.

“Notably, back in 2000, Zimbabwe was one of the wealthiest countries in Sub Saharan Africa on a wealth per capita basis, ranked ahead of the likes of Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, Zambia and Ghana. However, now it is ranked well behind these countries,” New World Wealth said.

According to the World Bank Zimbabwe’s GDP per capita dropped to $344.74 in 2008 but rose to $362.4 when the country dollarised in 2009, reaching a peak of $475.3 in 2013 before dropping slightly to $475.26 in 2014.

Zimbabwe recorded its highest GDP per capita of $732.64 in 1974.

According to New World Wealth factors that contributed to Zimbabwe’s poor performance included:

  • The erosion of ownership rights in the country. Ownership rights are key to facilitating wealth creation. In Zimbabwe, business owners are unsure as to whether their businesses or property will still belong to them a year down the line, which creates a situation where no one will take the chance of investing in the country.
  • Ongoing political intimidation and the fixing of elections in 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2013.
  • The banning of the independent media in the early 2000’s, which has created a situation where it is impossible for investors to tell what is happening there. Foreign journalists are also not allowed inside Zimbabwe. The only TV footage that comes out of Zimbabwe comes from state-owned TV stations.

Mauritius had the wealthiest individuals with $21 700 per person, followed by South Africa with $10 300.

 

See also:

Former minister says our economic policies make it appear as if we admire poverty

Lords of poverty and Hardship tycoons

Display of wealth hides extreme poverty

Widening inequality provides fodder for political unrest

What Zimbabwe really needs from China

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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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