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The President is optimistic that the Zimbabwean economy will improve by 2024.
Africa Economy

The President is optimistic that the Zimbabwean economy will improve by 2024.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has forecasted that Zimbabwe’s struggling economy will improve this year due to the recent uncovering of oil and gas near the country’s border with Mozambique and Zambia, as well as growth in the mining and tourism industries. However, economists are not as hopeful as many Zimbabweans are still emigrating from the country.

In a televised and social media broadcast, President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivered a New Year’s message to Zimbabweans both in the country and abroad. He expressed optimism for a prosperous future for Zimbabwe, noting that the mining industry has already exceeded its $12 billion goal for 2023 and the nation is now self-sufficient in food. The 81-year-old politician also shared additional positive developments.

I am pleased by the rise in the amount of tourists, both from within our country and abroad, who are coming to visit. I also welcome the efforts to improve our tourism industry through new attractions and resources. Our goal of achieving energy independence is being supported by the discovery of oil and gas in Muzarabani, which proves Zimbabwe’s potential as a gas producer in the future. This should help meet our increasing energy needs as our economy continues to grow,” he stated.

Economics professor Gift Mugano from Durban University of Technology gave a response to President Mnangagwa’s speech.

“We are in agro-based economy. We sneeze when the agriculture sector catches a cold. We know that this year there is a drought. That will have a devastating impact on the economy. With drought, we will be importing food. Because of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has seen prices of food, globally, going up around 50%,” said Mugano.

“We plan to allocate approximately $1 billion, which makes up about 20% of our total foreign currency earnings. This will have a negative impact on the economy’s performance. To be transparent, the economy will likely underperform this year. Although we have discovered gas and oil, it is premature to rely on it as the main driver of the economy.”

Citizens walk past a banner of President Emmerson Mnangagwa saying Zimbabwe is shaping to be prosperous by 2030 in Harare. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

In Harare, citizens pass by a banner featuring President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s statement that Zimbabwe will become prosperous by 2030. (Columbus Mavhunga/VOA)

According to Prosper Chitambara, a senior economist at the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, the country’s economy, which relies heavily on agriculture, will only see improvement this year if there is no drought. This is because the majority of farmers rely on rainfall for their crops.

According to Chitambara, it may take some time for the country to reap the benefits of its recent discovery of oil and gas. This will require a gestation period for investors to prepare and begin commercial activities. However, the economy is projected to grow by 3.5% this year, which is lower than the 5.5% growth seen last year.

Ranga Chivi, an electrical engineer, and his family recently moved from Zimbabwe to Australia in search of better opportunities. They also tuned in to hear Mnangagwa’s speech.

Chivi expressed curiosity about the potential impact of gas and oil findings on the economy. The decision to leave Zimbabwe was not due to unemployment, but rather a desire for better opportunities and a stable economy suitable for raising a family. The discovery of gas and oil is seen as a positive development for the country, and Chivi is enthusiastic about contributing to it. However, the issue of stability remains, and it is hoped that this project will address it.

The World Bank reports that the main motive for Zimbabweans to migrate is to find better economic prospects. In the 2022 census, it was found that out of approximately 908,000 emigrants from Zimbabwe, a majority of 84% had left the country in pursuit of employment, while 5% had migrated for educational or training purposes.