agriculture; costs; budget; land; farmers; leases; livestock; Zambia; meat

Zimbabwe’s post-Mugabe budget places agriculture, mining as drivers

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa presented a US$5.1 billion budget for 2018 last week.

Local media reports that it includes a list of business and investor friendly proposals, as well as plans to rejuvenate agriculture as a major driver of economic growth.

The budget also includes measures to mend Zimbabwe’s strained ties with the international community, while attempting to secure new lines of credit from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Government will attract both domestic and international investment by implementing investor-friendly policies,” said Chinamasa, who was reappointed as Finance Minister by Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Chinamasa said the economy was forecast to grow by 4.5% in 2018, driven by austerity measures and anticipated growth in the mining and agricultural sectors.

The country’s economic growth has slowed sharply from an average 8% between 2009 and 2012, to less than 1% last year, while the deficit rose to as much as 10% of the economy.

Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned commercial farms is widely blamed for the economic downturn and sharp decline in agricultural and mining production.

From the mid-2000’s, the economy contracted by as much as 60%, inflation rocketed to 66 000% and unemployment rose to 95%. In addition, persistent shortages of hard currency, fuel, medicine and food engulfed the country.

As he took office after Mugabe’s resignation amid a military intervention last month, Mnangagwa promised to compensate farmers whose farms were seized. He also pledged to create jobs and re-engage the international community.

Also read:
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New Zimbabwe era could “dim Zambia’s agro prospects”
Agriculture to drive new Zimbabwean economic policy

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