Happiness Zengeni, In Davos, Switzerland
FINANCE and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa is optimistic Zimbabwe will meet its 4,5 percent economic growth projections for 2018, with a possibility of breaching the six percent mark.
The bullish economic outlook, Minister Chinamasa said, was anchored on policy and economic reforms spearhead by President Emmerson Mnangagwa since he took oath of office on November 24 last year.
President Mnangagwa’s regime has emphasised re-engagement at a global level, security of investment, respect for property rights, zero tolerance for corruption, arrears clearance as well as policy clarity and consistency in his drive to re-energise an economy that has sufferred lack of FDI for the past 16 years under the yoke of Western sanctions.
The President’s re-engagement with the broader international community is expected to attract FDI and change the country’s fortunes.
Minister Chinamasa told our Harare Bureau on the sidelines of the just ended 48th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meetings in Davos,
Switzerland, that Government was optimistic it would breach its 4,5 economic forecast enunciated in the 2018 National Budget that was delivered last month.
He said Treasury also anticipates to surpass the IMF’s economic growth projections for Zimbabwe. In 2017 Zimbabwe forecast its economy to grow by 3,7 percent against the IMF’s initial projection of 0,7 percent which was later revised to 2,8 percent.
“Well, I’m sure that we will prove them wrong as we did last year. As you are aware, in 2017 the projections from the IMF were almost 0,7 percent growth, but we put it at 3,7 percent throughout. They then revised their projections in August to 2,8 percent which in itself was a concession that their initial projections were wrong,” Minister Chinamasa said, adding; “So we have remained stuck to our 3,7 percent projection for last year and I’m sure that this will be proved wrong.”
He continued; “For this year, in the National Budget, we projected 4,5 percent and I have been saying that given what we are doing in terms of policies, in terms of economic reforms, I think that 4,5 percent projection may well be conservative.
“I will not be surprised if we end up, towards the end of the year, all things being equal, at around six percent growth. I will not be surprised.”
Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabwe had taken a more aggressive stance towards implementing economic reforms.
“Whether we are talking about State enterprises, whether we are talking about the mining sector, agriculture or tourism, we are much more aggressive and our act is now in order in terms of implementation. So when all these things are implemented I’m more than certain that we will be able to exceed the 4,5 percent projected growth rate,” Minister Chinamasa said.
The 2018 growth forecast, according to the National Budget, is premised on scaled up agricultural financing and economic and policy reforms.
President Mnangagwa has hit the ground running, preaching Zimbabwe is open for business. So far, Government has scored big following the historic appearance at the WEF event that ended yesterday.
At the event, President Mnangagwa and his officials met World Bank, IMF and African Development Bank bosses as well as global leaders. The World Bank made a commitment to assist Zimbabwe in its arrears clearance, a move expected to unlock fresh capital at concessional rates.
A tailor-made package from the World Bank, to be preceded by a needs assessment exercise, is expected within three months from the date Zimbabwe clears $1,15 billion in arrears to the Bretton Woods institution. Zimbabwe also owes the African Development Bank about $601 million. Funding from World Bank will be allocated towards infrastructure development and social projects that are expected to drive economic growth.