Zimbabwe is going though an unprecedented economic crisis, which has
spanned more than a decade and is being blamed on the populist policies
of President Robert Mugabe and corrupt members of his cabinet.
Mugabe inherited the erstwhile bread basket of Southern Africa from
Britain in 1980, and has during the past 29 years driven it into being
the world's fastest shrinking economy outside a war zone.
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who became the country's Prime Minister
under the current national unity government formation that is ruling
the country, and his party's secretary general, Tendai Biti – the new
finance Minister, recently travelled to South Africa to seek financial
aid that would help revive Zimbabwe 's economy.
However, Manuel said this week that South Africa , cannot afford to bankroll Zimbabwe ‘s recovery.
"We are not a bank, we are poor. Part of what we are doing is speaking
to wealthy countries and getting them to help," said Manuel, who
appealed to Australia and the United Kingdom for the aid.
The government of Zimbabwe faces a variety of difficult economic
problems as it struggles to reverse an unsustainable fiscal deficit and
The government’s ill-fated land reform program of 2000, characterized
by chaos and violence, badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the
traditional source of exports and foreign exchange.
Support from the IMF has been suspended because of the government’s arrears on past loans.
"We also need to stimulate the Zimbabwe economy and get the farmers
to produce so we can get a significant improvement in the quality of
the lives of the people." Manuel added.