ZIMBABWE: WHERE TO NOW? Tony Hawkins Graduate School of Management University of Zimbabwe
MYTH No. 1 • That until 2000, Zimbabwe was one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best performing economies. • In fact, the country’s long-run growth record is unimpressive, even by Sub-Saharan standards, which are dismal.
DISMAL GROWTH RECORD • Over the long haul (1965-2008) real per capita incomes have fallen more than 20% meaning that Zimbabweans are no better off today than 50 years ago. • The chart tells the story.
MYTH No. 2: Land • Zimbabwe’s precipitous decline was caused by land resettlement. • From the late 1980s onwards, it was increasingly apparent that a serious crisis of unfulfilled expectations was developing. • Promises made at Independence in 1980 went unmet.
THE 1997 WATERSHED • War veterans payout (Aug 1997) • Fast-track land reform (1997) • Entry into the DRC war (1998) • Withdrawal of IMF/World Bank funding and donor aid (1999) • Simba Makoni Monetary Policy (2001)
MYTH No. 3: Resource rich • Zimbabwe is a resource rich country. • It is not. It is classified by the World Bank and others as a resource-poor, land-locked economy. • Its minerals endowment is diverse, which is not the same as rich – relative to Botswana, Zambia, the DRC and SA.
MYTH No. 4: The Regional Bread Basket • At various times in its history, Zimbabwe has had maize surpluses that were exported regionally. • Bu alongside SA (1.5 million tonnes this year), its 200 000 tonnes of food exports in a good season was marginal.
MYTH No 5: 1980 Revisited • That 2009 will be a reprise of 1980 when at independence the economy rebounded strongly. • The contrast between the two situations is stark. • Then the incoming government inherited a well-managed, diverse economy with strong entrepreneurial and infrastructural base.
TOUGHER TASK • A solid platform was in place, from which there could be a strong economic • But in 2009, after ten years of continuous, unprecedented peace time economic and social decline, recovery will be a much lengthier process.
INFLATION Inflation has escalated from 7 250% when the price freeze was launched a year ago to 100 000% in January and 11.2 million percent in June 2008. No-one believes the current estimate but then neither does anyone KNOW what a realistic number is.
There is an enormous range of guestimates – from 15 million to 30 million percent. None is accurate – because no-one is measuring accurately
INCOMPLETE PICTURE • While the graphs and inflation data capture the narrowly economic dimension of the country’s regression, the picture they convey is incomplete. • They do not capture the institutional and qualitative elements, nor the political economy of Zimbabwe’s decline.
LEFT OUT IN THE COLD • The starting point is that the past is no guide to the future. • Technology, policy, the world and the region have moved on, while Zimbabwe, left out in the cold, has regressed.
NEW BALL GAME • Far-reaching structural change has taken place not just in Zimbabwe, but also in the global and regional economies. • Growth models that worked in the past no longer apply. • The country is not in the bust phase of a a normal business cycle.
SEISMIC CHANGE • Optimists believe that when the politics normalize, Zimbabwe will revert seamlessly to the – mostly unsuccessful – growth path of the 1990s. • That is wrong - the country has undergone seismic change - rapid structural transformation across several different dimensions.
STRUCTURAL CHANGE • Since the decline started in 1999, long-run changes in the economic landscape include: • Demographics • Sectoral structure of output • De-industrialization • The balance between the formal and informal economies
CHANGE - TWO • Consumption patterns • Market segments • Collapse of savings and investment • The sectoral structure of exports and imports • The nature of production functions, and • The impact of globalization
NO GOING BACK • Seismic change means that the future will not be like the past – there is no going back. • The post-Mugabe, post-Zanu-PF economy will be very different from the economy of the late 1990s.
1. NEW BUSINESS MODEL • For a start, Zimbabwe will have to develop a new business model • The driver of the old economy – commercial agriculture – will not regain its predominance • Nor will manufacturing
2. MARKET SEGMENT SHIFT • A feature of Zimbabwe’s decline has been the shift in income and wealth from poor to rich and the associated near-elimination of the middle class. • This is a tragedy because one of Zimbabwe’s strengths was a well-developed “middle class” – so crucial to sustained economic development.
3. BRAIN DRAIN • The middle-class – professionals, teachers, doctors, nurses, public servants, parastatal managers – has been forced by inflation either into the low-income group, or into emigration. • The brain-drain will have serious long-term implications for the country and the economy.
4. SKILLS REGENERATION • Often overlooked too is the fact that Zimbabwe’s skills-regenerative capacity has declined. • The capacity of educational institutions at all levels to fill the brain-drain “gap” is minimal.
5. REBUILDING INSTITUTIONS • A major part of the explanation for this is the fact that teachers, lecturers, trainers are the mainstay of the no longer existent middle class. • Destroying institutions is simple. • Rebuilding them is not.
TIP OF THE ICEBERG • In recent years, Zimbabwe has relied on the international community to help feed a country that 10 years ago was a net exporter of food and agricultural produce. • This is merely the tip of the iceberg – the start of a protracted process of donor dependence that will last for decades.
6. MISMATCH • In Zimbabwe too, as elsewhere in Africa, there is a striking mismatch between government’s demonstrable economic, managerial and administrative incompetence, and • Its ability to maintain an iron grip in respect of security and selectively-applied law and order.
(a) STATE CAPTURE • Four critical aspects of this mismatch stand out: • Zimbabwe today is a classic “captured” state • Captured by a political elite determined to hold on to power regardless of the cost to the economy and to the population.
(b) The “politicised” economy 2. The system, the economy, works for the elite, as a a milch cow, that is the means to the end of power retention. • The economy’s function is to finance the state’s unwieldy, costly and increasingly inefficient bureaucracy.
While simultaneously providing opportunities for rent-seeking – access for the elite to free land, to cheap fuel, to subsidized bank loans and foreign exchange. • Like many economies in the throes of steep decline, the poorer the economy the greater the number of SUVs, Mercs and BMWs.
(c) CRONYISM • State capture goes hand in hand with dependency. • The command economy has become a patronage system in which it is increasingly difficult for formal businesses to survive without the right connections.
(d) THE LEADERSHIP VACUUM • The fourth element to the mismatch is that between a government led by strong leaders on the one hand and the leaderless vacuum of business, agriculture and mining, on the other. • Businesses are locked into the system.
100% EMPOWERMENT • This reality is fundamental to the empowerment and indigenization legislation. • Businesses that don’t play ball with the state risk being targeted as “strategic” enterprises that must sell 51% of their shares to indigenous Zimbabweans.
THE PREDATORY STATE • On Tuesday President Mugabe himself publicly acknowledged that his government’s policies had created a predatory state. • “Corruption imposes a huge cost burden on the conduct of business .. efforts to revive the country’s economy could remain a pipedream unless supported by stern and decisive action to eradicate the scourge of corruption, which has now reached alarming levels”.
Economics and Institutions • Economic development is more about institutions than policies. • Strong institutions can withstand poor policies and bad leaders, but once the institutions are corrupted and destroyed, as in Zimbabwe, the development challenge is much more formidable.
THREE STAGE PROCESS • Recovery will be a 3-stage process: • A short-term (2 years) stabilisation programme • Medium-term (2 to 5 years) reforms, and • Longer-run structural reforms.
BILATERALS CRUCIAL • An effective stabilisation programme is contingent upon re-engagement with the international community. • Because the Bretton Woods institutions are likely to require a 6-month Shadow Programme (SMP) before disbursing assistance, initial support will have to come from bilaterals.
POLITICAL PREQUISITE • In effect, this will mean the UK, the EU and the US with backing from Japan, Canada and Australia. • Most of these – not all the EU – can be expected to refuse to fund a rescue package for a government in which Mugabe and Zanu-PF are still influential or powerful players.
STABILISATION • Key elements of stabilisation will be: • 1. A draconian fiscal/monetary package designed to bring inflation down to manageable levels as quickly as possible. • 2. Interest rate, exchange rate, exchange control and price liberalization,
3. Seek foreign aid to restructure the domestic debt, while negotiating a debt-forgiveness package for foreign debt. 4. Immediate liberalization of food and agricultural markets, while seeking emergency food aid and agricultural inputs for 2009/10.