Economic, governance and property rights reforms get top priority

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, says Government will prioritise economic, governance and property rights reforms to increase agricultural production in the country.

Minister Ncube said these reforms were critical to create an environment that attracts investment and foster growth while suggesting the importance of securing property rights as a key driver for encouraging private sector credit to flow into agriculture.

“Internally, the country will focus on economic and governance reforms and reforms around property rights to increase agricultural production,” said Minister Ncube in a recent commentary on the African Development Bank’s latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) of the continent released last week.

Minister Ncube said climate shocks and extreme weather events were hindering agricultural production and economic growth. He noted that as an important economic driver in the region, agricultural setbacks due to climate change have significant ripple effects.

Minister Ncube attributed the country’s anticipated slower economic growth to climate shocks impacting the wider Southern African region while emphasing the importance of “climate-proofing” agriculture.

“Zimbabwe expects slower growth due to climate shocks in the region. Southern African countries depend on agriculture for economic growth, so climate-proofing agriculture is key,” he said.

The MEO report, however, noted that up to 41 countries across the continent Zimbabwe included, will in 2024, achieve an economic growth rate of 3,8 percent and in 13 of them, growth will be more than 1 percentage point higher than in 2023.

Africa will account for 11 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024 with overall, real gross domestic product (GDP) expected to average 3,8 percent and 4,2 percent in 2024 and 2025, respectively. This is higher than projected global averages of 2,9 percent and 3,2 percent, the report said.

The African continent is set to remain the second-fastest-growing region after Asia.

The top 11 African countries projected to experience strong economic performance forecast are Niger (11,2 percent), Senegal (8,2 percent), Libya (7,9 percent), Rwanda (7,2 percent), Cote d’Ivoire (6,8 percent), Ethiopia (6,7 percent), Benin (6.4 percent), Djibouti (6.2 percent), Tanzania (6,1 percent), Togo (6 percent) and Uganda at 6 percent.

“Despite the challenging global and regional economic environment, 15 African countries have posted output expansions of more than 5 percent,” AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said, calling for larger pools of financing and several policy interventions to further boost Africa’s growth.

Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook, a biannual publication released in the first and third quarters of each year, complements the existing  African Economic Outlook (AEO), which focuses on key emerging policy issues relevant to the continent’s development.

The MEO report provides an up-to-date evidence-based assessment of the continent’s recent macroeconomic performance and short-to-medium-term outlook amid dynamic global economic developments.

The latest report calls for cautious optimism given the challenges posed by global and regional risks. These risks include rising geopolitical tensions, increased regional conflicts, and political instability—all of which could disrupt trade and investment flows and perpetuate inflationary pressures.

Dr Adesina emphasised that fiscal deficits have improved, as faster-than-expected recovery from the pandemic helped shore up revenue.

“This has led to a stabilisation of the average fiscal deficit at 4,9 percent in 2023, like 2022, but significantly less than the 6,9 percent average fiscal deficit of 2020. The stabilisation is also due to the fiscal consolidation measures, especially in countries with elevated risks of debt distress,” he said.

Presenting the key findings of the report, AfDB chief economist and vice president, Prof Kevin Urama said:

“Growth in Africa’s top-performing economies has benefitted from a range of factors, including declining commodity dependence through economic diversification, increasing strategic investment in key growth sectors, and rising both public and private consumption, as well as positive developments in key export markets.”

“Africa’s economic growth is projected to regain moderate strength as long as the global economy remains resilient, disinflation continues, investment in infrastructure projects remains buoyant, and progress is sustained on debt restructuring and fiscal consolidation.”

Minister Ncube praised the report, calling it “on point” as it reflects the realities of Zimbabwe. He highlighted its usefulness for economic planning across Africa and encouraged the AfDB to maintain its thought leadership in supporting policymakers with building resilience and driving growth.


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