Economic reform essential

13 January 2018

Philippe Van Damme, the European Union (EU) head of delegation for Zimbabwe has said that Zimbabwe’s economic prospects appear dim unless President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration implements critical policy reforms. Van Damme acknowledged that Mnangagwa has been saying the right things so far, but called for actions to back up the words.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Van Damme said:

The International Monetary Fund forecast 2.5% growth while the World Bank projected 0.9% on the assumption of a good agricultural season and steady commodity prices.

However the season does not seem to be as good as we expected, so with unchanged policies, the forecast can be the upper limits of what to expect. As things stand the future looks pretty bleak but prospects for better things are there.

It’s extremely important that the new dispensation starts delivering on its commitments. We have heard President Mnangagwa and several of his ministers speak on indigenisation and the land issue.

These are critically important elements of the reform agenda that will improve the investment climate.

The prospects of a quick turnaround are there only if the government expeditiously moves to implement these critical policy changes as indicated.

The EU ambassador said Mnangagwa's administration also needed to begin negotiations with international multi-lateral institutions.

"This is important so that the government can probably begin to access new funding before the end of the year," he said adding the new government has indicated it wants to do more than what former President Robert Mugabe's administration had promised under the Lima negotiations.