Zim to benefit from regional growth

The growth of sub-Saharan Africa next year will be largely anchored on improved domestic and global conditions, says the IMF in its latest regional economic outlook.

The report projects an acceleration of GDP growth to six per cent in 2014 from around five per cent in 2013, strongest among oil exporting and low-income countries. Zimbabwe is amongst the low-income countries in the region.

The growth of sub-Saharan Africa could almost certainly benefit Zimbabwe, since most of the countries that Zimbabwe trades with under preferential arrangements are found in the region. Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa are either members of SADC or COMESA.

The report notes that the sub-Saharan African economy continues to grow at a sustained pace despite rising external finance costs, a deceleration in key export markets, and weaker commodity prices.

“Regional output will expand by about five per cent in 2013 – more rapidly than in 70 per cent of the countries in the world – as a result of continuing investment in infrastructure and productive capacity. In 2014, real GDP growth is expected to accelerate to six per cent, favoured by improved global and domestic conditions,” said the report.

The report indicated, however, that fiscal deficits remained high and were set to widen in many countries in the region, partly as a result of weakening revenues – most notably among oil exporters – and ambitious public investment programmes. Zimbabwe for instance had a revenue deficit of $7m for the third quarter of the year.

Some of the policy options prescribed by the report include mobilising revenue, rebuilding ‘buffers’, containing expenditure on subsidies and increasing the efficiency of public expenditure.

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