Saturday, 25 April 2009

Seriously bizarre (updated x2)

Even by the non-standards of The Standard this has got to be seriously bizarre,
It seems that Zimbabwe is, after all, a world leader. Mugabe’s government which followed the IMF and World Bank’s neo liberal plan for their economy to the letter, has shown us all how these policies will finish up.

The austerity medicine prescribed for Zimbabwe by the world Bank, Included oppressive and harsh debt repayment, and massive tax cuts for the rich, all funded by the privatisation of virtually every public service and national asset, and by slashing the ’social wage’.
Exactly when did the IMF or the World Bank, or anyone else for that matter, say create an annual inflation rate of 89,700,000,000,000,000,000,000% and in the process totally destroy your currency so that you have to start using the US dollar? Or when did the IMF or the World Bank, or anyone else for that matter, say totally ignore property right and take over farms without compensation and give them to political supporters and in the process totally destroy your agricultural sector and with it most of your economy? As this 2008 report notes
Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa, is reeling from its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980.

The crunch is widely blamed on mismanagement by Robert Mugabe's government, especially the seizure of white-owned farms, which has led to the collapse of the agricultural sector, formerly the mainstay of the economy.
When did the Zimbabwe government privatise anything much? As this 2009 report explains
The commercialisation and privatisation of parastatals started in the early 1990s but since then only a few companies have been privatised.

These included CBZ Bank, Dairibord, the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe, Zimre and Rainbow Tourism Group.

The privatisation of these former parastatals transformed them into very profitable entities that are competing favourably in the market.

Government however still holds 100 percent shareholding in the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zesa Holdings, Cold Storage Company, Air Zimbabwe and the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.

Others include the Industrial Development Corporation, TelOne, NetOne, The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority.

Efforts to privatise some of these, which continue to be a drain on the fiscus, has not yielded any fruit to date. (Emphasis added.)
And when did the Zimbabwe government do much in the way of debt repayment? In fact Zimbabwe has run up large foreign debts. As this 2009 report notes
The IMF says it was owed $89 million at the end of February 2009. The World Bank says Harare owes it $600 million, and the African Development Bank says it was owed $429 million as of the end of June last year.

Gono said Zimbabwe also owed the Paris Club of sovereign creditors about $1.1 billion.
As economists Peter Draper and Andreas Freytag put it in this article, What future for monetary policy in Zimbabwe?, at
Mr Mugabe and his Zanu PF party not only destroyed the economy thereby creating hyperinflation, poverty and starvation– they also eradicated a workable [government] administration. The latest manifestation is the cholera crisis, now reportedly affecting 80,000 people and spreading rapidly into neighbouring countries. Critically, all kinds of economic institutions necessary for a country to develop are now lacking.
According to the 2008 "Economic Freedom of the World Report", Zimbabwe was one of only three counties in the world to decreased their score by more than one point: Zimbabwe's dropped by −1.93. In fact Zimbabwe once again has the lowest level of economic freedom among the 141 jurisdictions included in the study.

All of this had nothing to do with the IMF or the World Bank. There are many things you may be able to blame these organizations for, but the situation in Zimbabwe isn't one of them. Zimbabwe's terrible, horrifying, economic and social conditions have but one cause, Robert Mugabe. To claim otherwise is totally bizarre, even for "The Standard".

Update: Liberty Scott comments here and Brad Taylor here.

Update 2: The Inquiring Mind inquires here.


macdoctor said...

Yes, welcome to the world of marxist claptrap. Should you wish to wander around the more left-wing site you will come across plenty of apologetics for Mugabe like this. Apparently Mugabe is really a lone crusader in the fight against neo-colonialism.

And I thought he was an insane murdering buffoon...

Paul Walker said...

"And I thought he was an insane murdering buffoon..."

Seems about right.