Can Gono revive economy?

HARAREZimbabwe central bank chief Gide

on Gono, who last week successfully won a reprieve for the country from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), now faces his hardest task – convincing Harare to adopt policies that will win back international assistance for the ailing economy.

“Gono’s script for economic revival is definitely getting juicier but whether the play will succeed will depend on his dexterity in manouvering the web of political intrigue that characterises affairs in the government and the ruling party,” said a chief executive of one of Zimbabwe’s largest banks, who chose not to be named. 

The IMF, Western development agencies and donor groups withdrew financial assistance to Zimbabwe six years ago in protest over Mugabe and his government’s controversial political and economic policies, including their seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

University of Zimbabwe (UZ) business studies professor Tony Hawkins said the RBZ chief would find it much harder to persuade Mugabe to restore the rule of law, embrace democracy and allow market forces to determine the exchange rate, and prices of goods – all conditions the IMF and international donors want met before assistance can be given.

“Raising money to pay the IMF will turn out to be the easier part, the difficult task is to implement policies on the ground that can restore investor confidence in Zimbabwe and win back the support of the international community,” said Hawkins.

“It is impossible to see any major reversals on policy if what we saw happening regarding the land issue in the last few days is anything to go by,” he added, referring to declarations by State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa last week that the government was not going to reverse its land reform programme but was in fact considering seizing all the land still in the hands of Zimbabwe’s few remaining white farmers.

Mutasa was responding to reports in the international Press that Harare was considering reversing its land reforms and recalling some of the expelled farmers to come and help resuscitate the agricultural sector and end hunger threatening a quarter of the 12 million Zimbabweans.

Harare consultant economist John Robertson said despite the payments made by Zimbabwe he expected little to change in relations between the southern African nation and the IMF, adding that as of now, there was little to suggest the Fund might be persuaded to resume financial assistance to the country. 

He said: “The issue of a new loan is out of the question at present until the Zimbabwean government addresses the concerns raised by the IMF missions that have been to the country.” – ZimOnline


Post published in: Economy

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