Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zim's dire forecast

From AlJezeerah:

Discusses the economy, and then goes on to discuss if the diaspora will return:

But will they? One methodical research study suggests that the more skilled Zimbabweans will stay in the Diaspora, rather than giving up good jobs for the uncertainty of a long and painful economic recovery.

Some economists reckon it will take 10 to 15 years for incomes to return to pre-crisis levels.

Economic recovery will be seriously constrained by the country’s infrastructure "deficit" especially electric power.

Foreign currency will be scarce during a period when the country will need billions of US dollars to finance food imports (already a third of the population is being fed by international donors) and another crisis year looms for agriculture.

Emergency assistance will be needed to rebuild the health and education systems and to finance fuel and electricity imports.

Most serious of all is the void so often overlooked by businesspeople, investors and diplomats.

That void is the country's "soft" infrastructure – the institutions that keep a country functioning, the judiciary, the police, the public service rule of law, the public service, the media, the schools and health providers.

These have been systematically undermined and corrupted by the Mugabe government.

Ten years ago, when Mugabe set out to "empower" his people by seizing privately-owned farmland and instructing his central bank to print trillions, quadrillions, of local dollars to foot the bill, Zimbabwe was blessed with above-average institutions for an African country.

Today, much of that institutional fabric has gone.

It will take decades to revive and replace.

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