Zimbabwe

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Nehanda, the Shona spirit medium that inspired Mugabe
Nehanda Nyakasikana led the fight against British colonisers in Zimbabwe in the 19th Century.

Zimbabwe borrows its way out of fuel crisis

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Crippling petrol shortages have prompted Zimbabwe's central bank to release over $40m (£31m) for the commodity, it says.

Petrol queues had stretched for several kilometres at some stations before fuel ran out.

Food prices have risen and essential goods are in short supply because of a foreign currency shortage. A $500m credit line will also be used to import fuel, medicines and wheat, as well as soya beans to address a shortage of cooking oil, authorities say.

Some see this as a sticking plaster. The bigger problem - Zimbabwe's foreign currency shortage - can only be resolved when the country increases its exports.

A filling station attendant fills a car with fuel at a petrol station on July 30, 2018 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
AFP

Zimbabwe's economy '40% larger'

Zimbabwe Economic Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube
EPA
Mr Ncube says that new economy figures include the informal sector.

Zimbabwe’s economy is now 40% larger after their statistics agency rebased key data.

The Zimbabwe Mail quoted Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube as saying, “Our economy is bigger than we think and the new calculations took into account the large informal sector for the first time."

Matt Mossman from African Arguments told Bloomberg in 2014 that:

[GDP rebasings] provide a clearer look at an economy, and in particular they capture where the most growth is coming from. But they also highlight the problem with GDP as a statistic – it’s never accurate, and often, in developing countries, it’s not even close."

Zimbabwe’s economy faced a myriad of challenges under former President Robert Mugabe including high levels of unemployment and poverty which newly-elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to end.

The finance minister had earlier announced that the economy will grow by 6.3% this financial year buoyed by the agriculture and mining sector, reports news site Daily Maverick.

Tobacco and reforms boost Zimbabwe economy

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

A farmer holds his tobacco leaf during the official opening of the tobacco selling season at Boka Tobacco Auction Floors in Harare on March 15, 2017.
Getty Images
Zimbabwe has recorded its highest ever tobacco sales

After years of sluggish growth, Zimbabwe's economy is showing signs of recovering and will grow faster than expected according to the central bank's latest statement.

The highest ever tobacco sales and economic reforms are just some of the reasons the central bank says this economy could be one of the continent's best performers this year.

Initial projections of 4.5% have been revised upwards to just over 6%, but its not without challenges and risks.

Many had hoped the monetary policy statement would tackle the crippling foreign currency shortages and to an extent it did.

Among the measures are special accounts for foreign currency earners. Foreign truckers will now be forced to pay for fuel in hard currency.

The government will reduce its overdraft with the central bank, but authorities still face their biggest hurdle - raising public confidence that was lost under the previous government.

Most Zimbabweans are reluctant to keep their money in banks and this has contributed to cash shortages.

Zimbabwe 'stops luxury car purchases' for cholera fund

Zimbabwe's government has suspended plans for ministers to buy luxury vehicles as the country continues to deal with a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 30 people, local reports say.

Last week, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube was criticised after he launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to deal with the health crisis.

People accused the government of having misused public money on unnecessary expenditure.

"With the $15.7m (£11.9m) that the government has pledged towards the outbreak of cholera, we suspended things like purchase of vehicles for ministers and members of parliament to make sure that we deal with this out break immediately," the Zimbabwe Mail quotes Mr Ncube as saying.

Cabinet ministers are entitled to a Mercedes-Benz sedan, Range Rover or Toyota Land Cruisers, the NewsDay website reports.

Deputy ministers and legislators can purchase slightly less flashy cars and the total vehicle budget amounts to $20m, NewsDay adds.

Cholera victims are being treated in tented clinics
BBC
Cholera victims are being treated at these tented clinics in Harare

Zimbabwe opposition walk out of key presidential speech

Zimbabwean opposition lawmakers have walked out of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's state of the nation address in parliament.

An Al Jazeera journalist has tweeted this footage of them filing out the building:

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Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MPs and their leader Nelson Chamisa heckled President Mnangagwa when he started reading his speech before leaving the national assembly.

Reuters news agency attributes the display to the opposition's "lingering bitterness" after losing the disputed general election in July.

In today's speech, Mr Mnangagwa said the election period was decisively in the past.

President Mnangagwa also said the mining amendment bill passed in June will be brought back to parliament to "address some inadequacies", Reuters reports.

Previous changes saw the removal of clauses requiring foreign mining companies to list locally, and gave the mines minister the authority, after consulting with the president, to designate any mineral as strategic if "it would be in the interests of the development of the mining industry".