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.

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7.5%

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