October 26, 2007-Until now, getting even a snapshot of economic conditions in Zimbabwe amid the country’s political and economic turmoil has been difficult. But thanks to Nathan Associates’ economy-wide assessment, a clear picture is emerging. International donors have already begun consulting the report, Zimbabwe Economic Performance Assessment—a Benchmark Study, to plan for Zimbabwe’s recovery should the country’s political landscape change.
Funded by USAID’s Country Analytic Project, the study benchmarks Zimbabwe’s performance against Zambia and South Africa—the medians for low-income countries and low-income Sub-Saharan Africa—and against its own performance before 1998.
The findings are not encouraging. On the verge of economic collapse, the country is at risk for serious conflict, fueled by fiscal and monetary mismanagement and the absence of good governance. GDP has contracted by 5.8 percent annually in the last five years, and poverty rates have increased by 31 percent since 1995. People are being forced back into rural areas or are fleeing the country altogether.
A changed political climate would present donors with numerous program possibilities, but Nathan has narrowed those possibilities to three that will be urgent: macroeconomic stabilization, including fiscal and monetary reform; private sector rehabilitation, promoting the rule of law; and investing in infrastructure.
The benchmark study has generated widespread interest in Zimbabwe because it appears to be the first of its kind conducted in the country in recent years. Mr. John Robertson, a leading independent Zimbabwean economist, and Nathan partner, Fund for Peace contributed to the study.
Download the study (101 pages)