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UNDP Charts Long Road For Zimbabwe To Economic Recovery

Economic recovery by Zimbabwe won’t be a fast or painless process, says a report from the United Nations Development Program drafted by five Zimbabwean economists who concluded it could take 12 years and $5 billion dollars to return to 1991 income levels.

Some $1.62 billion will be needed in year one for debt relief and government operations including feeding a hungry population and rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure.

As reported by the Financial Times - the full text was not immediately available from the UNDP - reconstruction would be “impossible” without substantial foreign assistance, and a new government emerging from this week's power-sharing agreement must tackle the country's structural problems aggressively if reconstruction is to succeed.

Hyperinflation poses a particular challenge: abruptly halting the printing of money by the central bank will deliver a shock to the economy and population - though if it is handled properly dislocation from restoring normal monetary conditions could be brief.

The UNDP report emphasized that a new government brought into being by the power-sharing accord signed this week by President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara must act decisively at the outset when there is most support for an aggressive recovery plan.

Reporter Brenda Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought further insights into the daunting task of economic reconstruction form Tony Hawkins, an economics professor at the University of Zimbabwe and one of the report's five Zimbabwean authors.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...