New Zimbabwe govt sets 100-day target for economy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dong20, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. dong20

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    "Zimbabwe's new government hopes to start seeing results from an economic recovery plan after 100 days, state media reported on Saturday.

    The new unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai faces the daunting task of reversing years of economic decline marked by hyper-inflation and severe food and fuel shortages.

    The administration has said its short-term emergency recovery programme STERP will require $8.5 billion over the next two to three years. It will depend heavily on help from Western donors and Harare wants financial assistance from countries in the regional grouping SADC.

    Mugabe, who critics blame for the country's economic crisis, told a government reconstruction summit in the resort town of Victoria Falls that there was no time to waste. He blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's economic downfall.

    "It is our collective hope that after the 100 days, the country will begin experiencing a firm and determined walk on the road to economic stabilisation and recovery," Mugabe said."
    [Reuters, Africa]

    The Zimbawean inflation rate officially reached 'several' hundred million % last winter - 'realistic' estimates placed it in the hundreds of quadrillions.

    Since Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in January, things have ... changed. Figures recently released show Zimbabwe saw the first month on month fall in prices (in $US terms prices fell 3.1% in February, 2.3% in January) since 2005. Prices for stapes such as bread, maize and oil have halved since December.

    Because of this de facto currency 'change' (in January Zimababwe switched to using USD and ZAR in shops, utitities etc) there is no 'baseline' so any figures may be unreliable. But even if they're not, Zimbabwe still faces a massive struggle.

    Trying to assess meaningful figures at this stage is risky, but as a real world example, one effect of the change is that supermarket shelves are now stocked, and prices stay 'constant' for days at a time as opposed to hours. Sadly, few being able to afford much of what's on sale rather negates this benefit.

    Meanwhile, there's no money to pay many Government employees (civil servants will now receive $US100 per month), and Zimbabwe owes upward of $30Million (US) in overseas embassy staff salaries. Many employees at overseas missions have have been evicted from their homes, seeking 'refuge' in their ambassadors residences.

    Before some mouth breather chimes in with a trite inannity; yes, I know any actual hardship said employees may be incurring may be minimal, but that's not the point I was seeking to make.

    To illustrate just how surreal things are in Zimbabwe have become; billion and trillion dollar notes ($Z) were thown as confetti at the PM's inaugural bash in February. This month, Mugabe is attempting to 'woo' Unity Government Minsters (all of them) with brand new E Class Mercedes - as well as paying 15,000 PF thugs (he recruited them during the '08 election) USD100 each month as 'civil servants'.

    Even if the world had $8.5Billion to offer, it would be insane to advance a cent of it while Mugabe remains.

    For those grandstanding about the current US administration's alleged fiscal incompetence, bemoaning 'woe is me', just be grateful you don't have the likes of Gideon Gono in decision making roles. I simply offer the above as a small but timely reality check.
     
  2. AG08

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    Once the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe has been reduced to starvation because of the backwards and racist practices enforced on the white farming population by the Mugabe government. For those of you not familiar with what happened, white farmers who knew how to properly farm the land were forced off of their farms (with brutal violence if they wouldn't leave willingly) and given no compensation by the government for the land they lost. The land was then turned over to black farmers who didn't know how to manage the land effectively. Harvest yields declined, unemployment skyrocketed, and many black farm workers were suddenly out of a job (the main source of employment in Zimbabwe). Today those farm fields are barren and no longer suitable to grow crops. Agriculture was also the main source of income for the economy of Zimababwe. Once the farms tanked, the economy tanked right along side of it. Today, Zimbabwe, which used to supply food to the continent of Africa, now has to import food to feed their own people which is quite difficult to do as they have no hard currency.

    It always amazed me how when whites were the victims of racism, brutality and injustice in Zimbabwe, no one spoke up. The same certainly didn't happen in South Africa when blacks were the victims of apartheid. Quite a double standard. South Africa was smart though to offer the displaced white farmers from Zimbabwe free land in order to get them to settle in South Africa. Human capital (regardless of race) is far more valuable than any farm land. What a shame that Mugabe, who was so blinded by racism and his hatred for the west, was to stupid to see it. Mugabe can blame the west all he wants for Zimbabwe's woes, but he alone is responsible for the miserable state that Zimbabwe is in today. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that he's still alive after all of the misery that he has brought to the people of Zimbabwe. I would imagine that he is still alive and in power today because he has ruled the country with brutality and thuggery through his corrupt army that really don't care about the people, only lining their own pockets. Anyone that has dared oppose him (white or black) has ended up dead, beaten within an inch of their life or run out of the country in fear of their lives. Hmmmm, I wonder how he will blame all of that on the west? :rolleyes:
     
    #2 AG08, Apr 7, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  3. fxc1100

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    ^Actually the whole farming incident wasn't what killed Zimbabwe. It was the total mismanagement after wards that really hurt the country. He had an idea that the people voted for and loved. Give the land back to the people but unfortunately like Bush he had no "exit strategy" and all things went to hell a decade after.

    As for your comment about the whites in that area being victimized you have to remember when the Zimbabwe(Rhodesia) split from the British Colony the whites put into law farming restrictions on the black people. So for a little over a hundred years 1% of the population owned OVER 70% of the arable land. Basically it was Jim Crow laws. So you could see why when the government finally got turned over to the people and they gave the land back to the people the rest of the world couldn't say anything because they never said anything before about the racism for the past century or so.

    (full blood zimbabwean who has actually been back home a couple times)
     
  4. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    It's like Castro and a 90-day Domestic Civil Liberties Bill, or China and a Freedom of Journalistic Speech Act.
     
  5. MarkLondon

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    I gather that the problem was not that black Zimbabweans don't know how to farm, but that the farms were handed out to Mugabe's cronies.
     
  6. AG08

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    It's not surprising that black Zimbabweans supported his reforms. However, what they didn't take into account is that they would be losing valuable farming expertise from those they were victimizing. As I mentioned in my previous post, South Africa recognized that by encouraging this valuable human capital to settle in their country, everyone would benefit. South Africa isn't the most prosperous country in Africa by accident. It was because of smart policies such as the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" that encouraged healing between the races, so that whites would feel comfortable to remain in South Africa after apartheid ended - in other words there would be no government authorized retaliation against the white population for what happened in the past. The government in South Africa knew that if whites fled the country, they would lose valuable skilled workers that the country needed to prosper as whites were the most educated in society due to decades of policy under apartheid that favored whites in universities and in professions. It wasn't just, but it was a fact. Countries like Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia would have been more than happy to accept these skilled white workers as immigration policies in all of those countries favor skilled workers over unskilled workers. As I also mentioned before, it was a shame that Mugabe was so blinded by racism and his contempt for the west that he didn't recognize what Zimababwe would lose. Here is an excerpt from a report about Zimbabwe that might interest you:

    Not surprisingly, every sector of the formerly
    diverse Zimbabwean economy was
    affected. The mainstay of the economy, agriculture,
    was all but destroyed by the politically
    expedient and often violent land reform program
    initiated by Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe
    African National Union–Patriotic Front government
    in 2000. For example, annual wheat
    production has plummeted from a high of
    over 300,000 tons in 1990 to less than 50,000

    in 2007 (see Figure 2).

    I don't deny that there was racism against black farmers and that the majority of land in the country was controlled by a minority of people, but let me ask you, how is that any different from where you are living right now? Your avatar states that you currently live in the U.S. Do you think that was just empty land when the Europeans arrived? If you do, I have some aboriginal friends that would take you to task on that. I'll bet the land that you are standing on right now was at some point in history stolen from Native Americans. Does that mean they have the right to knock on your door and demand that you surrender your house with no compensation under the threat of violence or death?

     
    #6 AG08, Apr 8, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  7. AG08

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    Absolutely, those who supported him were rewarded. The problem is that farming is a science. It's not just a matter of throwing some seeds in the ground and being continuously rewarded with a large harvest. Those who received the land didn't know how to farm it properly and they used poor agricultural practices. For example, farm land was exhausted by continuous planting that stripped the nutrients from the soil. The first few years, they received a large harvest, but once the nutrients are stripped from the land, it becomes unusable. At that point they have to move on to another piece of land, and the same thing happens. Eventually most of the productive farm land becomes unusable. An experienced and educated farmer would know how short sighted that policy is. I guess when the white farmers were fleeing for their lives, they forgot to pass that information on to those that were stealing thier farm and trying to kill them. :wink:
     
    #7 AG08, Apr 8, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  8. dong20

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    One can trace the bulk of the problems back the the Lippert Concession. This set a climate for a sequence of legislation which limited and controlled indigenous land access and rights. One of the most insidious was the 1895 Natives Reserve Order. The upshot of these early days was that by the outbreak of WWI around 3% of the population controlled around 75% of the productive land and over 95% of the indiginous peoples were 'coralled' in less than 25% of the total land area, spread across scatted reserves.

    After the Apportionment Act (1930 IIRC), the other primary source of discontent was the 1951 Native Land Husbandry Act. This act met such resistance and fomented such nationalist sentiment from day one, that the act was repealed within ten years. There were many other civil order acts, the 1959 Unlawful Organisations and Native Affairs Acts being perhaps the most notable for their role in pouring oil on already troubled water.

    The formation of 'Southern Rhodesia' ('validated' by a 1922 referendum) was in 1923 although in reality this was little more than the British Government formalising De Facto home rule by the BSAC.

    The end of Southern Rhodesia as part of the [always] doomed Nyasaland Federation came in 1963 following Zambian and Malawi independence. Southern Rhodesia became simply 'Rhodesia'. This period also saw the banning of ZANU and ZAPU as political movements and the imprisonment of their leaders - and an inexorable slide toward what should have been imminent Zimbabwian independence.

    Not in any way to avoid the huge responsibility the UK has in respect of subsequent events, but effective British Colonial Rule in Rhodesia and thus the hope for early independence ended less than two years later, with a sweep of Ian Smith's pen.
     
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