THE World Bank says the outlook for Zimbabwe’s economy for 2014 remains uncertain due to a number of internal and external factors, including the expected volatility in the global economy.
The country’s growth projections have been revised downwards was the world waits for President Robert Mugabe to announce his new cabinet. The cabinet will give indications to the world as to which policies Mr. Mugabe and his government will pursue in the next five years.
“The economy faces uncertainty both from expected volatility in the global economy, and on the domestic front after July elections, amidst worsening macroeconomic indicators and increased vulnerability of the banking sector,” the bank said in its September Economic Briefing.
It says growth in Zimbabwe was rapidly fading. Growth projections for 2013 have been revised downwards to 3%, with little prospects for a recovery in 2014. This follows the 4, 4% growth recorded in 2012.
The late announcement has caused anxiety within the business community with local and international investors adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude as Mr. Mugabe takes his time to announce his team.
“Growth performance has been stymied by continued slowdown of the key sectors of the economy, amidst easing of international commodity prices, low investment, tight credit conditions, and policy uncertainty after the July elections,” the bank said.
The briefing raises concerns over Zanu PF’s indigenisation policy, in particular. The World Bank says amidst worsening macro-economic indicators and increased vulnerability of the banking sector, the Zimbabwean economy is not expected to do so well.
Political commentator Gladys Hlatywayo said President Mugabe has a mammoth task ahead of him, especially making sure he forms a cabinet that will consolidate the gains made by the inclusive government and not reverse them.
“Mr. Mugabe made a lot of promises during the election campaign period and everyone is waiting,” said Hlatywayo. “They want to see him deliver. In the meantime, we all wait to see how his cabinet is going to look like. It will tell us a lot about where he intends to take Zimbabwe in the next five years.”
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Zimbabweans should be patient with Mr. Mugabe, especially after losing three top party cadres in the past few weeks.
“We have been in a period of mourning as a party and only burying Comrade Kumbirai Kangai last Saturday. Then we had the United Nations World Toursim Organization meeting in Victoria Falls,” said Gumbo. “A lot has been happening but people have to be patient, the cabinet will be announced soon. There’s really no need for speculation.”