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African Economic Outlook 2003

image of African Economic Outlook 2003

The African Economic Outlook is a joint project between the African Development Bank and the OECD Development Centre.  The project, initially funded by the EU, combines the expertise accumulated by the OECD and the knowledge of the African Development Bank on African economies. The objective is to review annually the recent economic situation and the short-term likely evolutions of selected African countries.  The Outlook is drawn from a country-by-country analysis based on a unique analytical design.  This common framework includes a forecasting exercise for the current and the following year using a simple macroeconomic model, together with an analysis of the social and political context.  It also contains a comparative synthesis of African country prospects.  A statistical appendix completes the volume.  Decision-makers and economists in African and OECD countries, both in the public and private sectors, aid agencies and investors will all find this volume of significant interest.

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Zimbabwe

OECD Development Centre

355

The severe economic and political crisis that has embroiled the country since 1997, deteriorated further in 2001 and 2002, owing to the combined effect of the increasing macroeconomic imbalances, the massive drought that hit the country during the first quarter of 2002 and the acceleration of the fast-track land reform programme, following the disputed re-election of President Robert Mugabe. As a consequence, the country is currently facing a dramatic food crisis. The cereal gap is forecast to be about 1.8 million tons and half of the population is expected to face starvation, while food importation is hampered by deepening foreign currency shortages. On top of this alarming food situation, the economy has continued to deteriorate in 2002 with the unemployment rate reaching an estimated 60 per cent. Although the government has been successful in reducing the fiscal deficit from 20.7 per cent of GDP in 2000 to 8.1 per cent in 2001, the economy has suffered from the general decline in business confidence, the loose monetary policy that more than doubled average inflation, and an overvalued fixed exchange rate. Real GDP, which had already shrunk by 7.4 per cent in 2001, is expected to contract by 11.4 per cent in 2002 against a background of continuous weaknesses in the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and tourism sectors. The current crisis is expected to worsen an already worrying social context with a society characterized by strong and persistent dualism, at least 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, and collapsing healthcare and education systems…

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