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Harare Crackdown Devastates Informal Business Sector

Economists watching Zimbabwe say the current government crackdown – whether it is called Operation Restore Order or Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Rubbish) – has virtually killed off the informal sector. The International Labor Organization has estimated that about a quarter of the country’s unemployed were making a living for themselves, family and other dependents in the parallel or undocumented economy. Economist Erich Bloch, an advisor to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, agrees the crackdowns have seriously damaged the informal sector. But he says this is not what central bank governor Gideon Gono had in mind when he denounced economic abuses in the informal sector in a policy speech early last month.

Mr. Bloch spoke with VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe from Harare.