Back in the year 2000, breathing a sigh of relief that we had all survived the Y2K countdown, Robert Mugabe’s government “authorised the often-violent seizure of about 4 500 mostly white-owned commercial farms”.
The purpose? To redistribute the land to black people, in a land-reform programme subsequently slammed by human-rights groups.
From there, exports of tobacco, the nation’s biggest agricultural earner, collapsed, reports Business LIVE.
The farm seizures crippled agricultural output, with the tobacco shipments starting to return to previous levels only last year. Still, the nation, which was the world’s fifth-largest producer of tobacco in 2000, is now number 15.
Now, in the wake of a potentially new era in Zimbabwe, they took a look at the country’s economy. While we all know that ain’t so hot, the details show just how weak it really is.
Not only has Zimbabwe’s economy fallen to the 20th biggest in sub-Saharan Africa (from 10th when President Robert Mugabe came into power almost four decades ago), but an estimated 95% of the workforce is jobless and as many as three million Zimbabweans have gone into exile:
[The economy] has halved in size since 2000, according to the government. The country’s share of regional GDP has dropped to less than 1% from 1.5% 37 years ago, when Mugabe came to power, World Bank data shows. It improved slightly during a unity government agreed to following disputed elections in 2008.
Hyperinflation peaked at about 500-billion percent at the end of 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leading to the nation abandoning its own currency in favour of a basket of foreign exchange, including the rand, the dollar, the euro and the pound, as well as so-called bond notes printed by the government. After two-and-a-half years of deflation, consumer prices started rising again in February, driven by a shortage of cash and higher food costs.
And international debt?
Well, as of October, the country owed lenders – including the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank – about $9 billion (R129 billion), according to the finance ministry:
Zimbabwe’s external debt decreased in the almost five years to 2013 under a unity government in which Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) shared power. The nation’s foreign obligations surged after an election ended the power-sharing deal.
The price of the cryptocurrency in the Southern African nation jumped as high as $13,499, almost double the rate at which it trades in international markets, according to prices cited on Golix’s website.
That’s a R191 950 for a bitcoin, compared to LUNO’s South African value of R117 749. When there’s a will to survive, there’s a way.
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