Editor’s Note: May 02, 2019
Is business to blame for Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown?
‘Unpatriotic’ members of Zimbabwe’s business community are stifling the government’s economic agenda, president Emmerson Mnangagwa has claimed according to a report by Bloomberg.
“My government will not stand by and leave workers…at the mercy of a small group with rent-seeking profiteering tendencies,” a statement from his office reads, accusing unnamed businesses of unjustifiably hiking prices for goods.
The comments appear to be an attempt to deflect attention away from his government’s failure to deliver on a promised economic revival after the ousting of Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
Far from improving the country is experiencing its worst crisis in a decade. Inflation has soared to 66.8%, the US has extended Mugabe-era sanctions citing insufficient reform, with the IMF forecasting a 5.2% contraction this year.
Optimism about Mnangagwa’s ascendancy to the presidency has given way to despair amid the realization that government rhetoric and action on the economy remain inconsistent.
Trying to shift the blame for the lack of progress to business – even if Mnangagwa’s claims are accurate – is desperate. It’s also very questionable, with his ruling ZANU-PF party being the undisputed bane of Zimbabwe’s economy for the last two decades.
Comments like this will only add to souring sentiment towards the government, especially among business.
From The Continent
The African Union has given Sudan’s military a new 60-day deadline to hand over power to civilian control or face suspension, having missed an earlier 15-day ultimatum. The country's military has promised a transition to civilian rule following the removal of longtime president Omar al-Bashir, but many doubt its sincerity. More: Al Jazeera
Gambia has reportedly awarded oil major BP exploration rights to drill for oil and gas offshore. The country is thought to be sitting on considerable reserves, following large discoveries in neighbouring Senegal, and Mauritania in recent years. More: Oilprice
The Daily Stat
Zambia’s 2018 fiscal deficit, which the government hopes to trim to 6.5% in 2019. More: Reuters
The Global Perspective
The World Bank has approved a $250m loan to Kenya aimed at boosting affordable housing availability, a stated priority for the country’s government. Kenya faces an estimated annual housing shortfall of 200,000. More: Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has started a three-day West Africa tour, which will see her visit Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Promoting economic development in the restive Sahel region, aimed at stemming migration to Europe, has become a key foreign policy priority for her government. More: Deutsche Welle