Bleak Zimbabwe picture unless drastic policy reforms adopted - EU

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 15, 2018

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JOHANNESBURG - The restoration of Zimbabwe's economy is undoubtedly one of the most pertinent and mammoth tasks, President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration has said.

Addressing journalists on Friday in Harare, EU ambassador to Harare, Philippe van Damme, said that a drastic policy shift could result in a quick turnaround for the country's ficus.

Van Damme called on on President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration to "bite the bullet" in light of what he called, "bleak economic prospects".

He stressed that any prospects of a quick turnaround would only occur if the government expeditiously moved to implement critical policy changes as previously indicated.

In his maiden State Of The Nation address Mnangagwa said his government was carrying out a comprehensive review in the harmonisation of investment laws and policies in order to boost the drive for foreign direct investment.

However van Damme was quick to point out the International Monetary Fund forecast of 2.5% in growth, with the World Bank's growth projection at 0.9% - saying this was based on the assumption of a good agricultural season and steady commodity prices.

"However the season does not seem to be as good as we expected, so with unchanged policies the forecast can be the upper limits of what to expect," van Damme said.

"We have heard President Mnangagwa and several of his ministers speak on indigenisation and the land issue, these are critically important elements of the reform agenda, that will improve the investment climate," said van Damme.

The EU ambassador said Mnangagwa's administration also needed to begin negotiations with international multi-lateral institutions.

"This is important so that the government can probably begin to access new funding before the end of the year," he said adding the new government has indicated it wants to do more than what former President Robert Mugabe's administration had promised under the Lima negotiations.

While the EU has removed sanctions on Zanu-PF officials and some government-owned firms in 2014, the US has maintained its travel and economic embargo.

Mnangagwa has repeatedly called for the lifting of the political and economic sanctions, which he says "have crippled our national development."


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