Economic recovery in Zimbabwe ‘still difficult despite Mugabe resignation’

22 Nov 17

Economic recovery in Zimbabwe is still likely to be difficult even though Robert Mugabe has resigned as president, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute has said. 

Mugabe resigned by letter yesterday after 37 years in power following pressure from the public, the army and his party for him to step down. 

The resignation came amid turmoil in the country since the military took over last week in an attempt to root out “criminals” around the president and detained him and the finance minister Ignatius Chombo. 

The former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was sacked by Mugabe two weeks ago and fled to South Africa, is expected to return to Zimbabwe and be sworn in as the next president on Friday, according to the country’s state broadcaster.  

Judith Tyson, research fellow at the ODI’s international economic development group, said: “There is obviously great optimism for change in Zimbabwe tonight but it is not yet clear whether a reformist government will emerge, and if it does the pathway to economic renewal is still likely to be very difficult.”

She added that the government is “effectively bankrupt” and the economy “has been stripped of jobs”. These were both issues which should be a priority for the new government, she explained. 

“The renewal of international finance and private investment will take a credible reform process to be laid out and implemented,” she said. 

Robert Mugabe was at the age of 93 the world’s oldest leader until his resignation yesterday.

On television last week, the Zimbabwe major general Sibusiso Moyo, chief of staff logistics, said: “We are only targeting criminals around him [Mugabe] who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice”. 

The finance minister was a leading member of the so-called G40 faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party, which is led by Mugabe’s wife Grace.

Last week, Tyson told Public Finance International the country needs a period of policy certainty to get its finances back on track.

The military said it expects the situation in Zimbabwe to “return to normalcy”, as soon as its “mission” was accomplished. 

UPDATE at 10am on 23/11/17:

Since this story was written, Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the president of Zimbabwe. 


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