History Monday: Zimbabwe Economy 6


  • The Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Bill was signed into law
  • The elections were held in March 2008, after four days the results of the house of Assembly stood as follows: ZANU (Pf) 97 seats, MDC-T 99 seats and MDC-M 10 seats.
  • The Government of National Unity GNU was formed (13 February 2009) with ZANU pf and MDC sharing power
  • In March of 2009, the newly instated Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, announced that the Zimbabwe dollar would be suspended indefinitely.
  • Some form of economic growth and stability from 2009 to 2013
  • Company closures between 2012 to 2014(700 firms closed[68],75 company closures were recorded[69])
  • Elections in July 31, ZANU (Pf) won the majority vote
  • In 2013, the Zanu PF government launched the ZimAsset economic blueprint, which is a results-based management economic system, with the aim of increasing and improving quality of government expenditure, increasing productivity and competitiveness, as well as improving the business environment as a whole.



During the first decade of independence Zimbabwe made real and positive progress in terms of Health as well as education. Provision of free health care and education meant the increase in the standards of living of the Zimbabwean people. This socialist principle the government used was justified based on the fact that during the liberation struggle, leaders promised fighters they would gain not only political but economic and social freedom. So it was of utmost importance to at least grant the people free, accessible health and education because due to the racial injustice prior to independence the people were deprived of these benefits and it was only the right thing to do for the government to sustain support from its people.

Governments focus on health and education was a moral and political issue, based on these grounds it had to be done but it was not an economically wise thing to do. Considering that the country had just got its independence, questions needed to be asked within government on the sustainability of this socialist concept. The first step among many that had to be done was to come up with means to generate income for the nation in order to create a foundation for high standard of living in the near future. Probably the economic growth in 1980 to 1982 had the government believe it will maintain such growth but the drought that affected the country in 1983 should have been a wakeup call. Now the big question is, how would the government come with policies that generate income? Firstly there was need to develop smart economic partnerships and improve relations with Europe and America. This will be done by a committee set up to travel to these areas and meet leaders and advertise this new, vibrant independent state that is open for major investment. This not only attracts foreign aid it also attracts multinational cooperation’s that can come and invest in the country bringing in money and technology as well as creating jobs for the people.

There was need for the government to come up with a highly and extremely aggressive industrialisation policy that would promote a private sector driven economy, the government should have come up with programmes that promoted local Zimbabwean people to create business, with low taxes that would employ people. Employment creation should have been on top priority. This is because with employment of people this empowers them an increases their standards of living.

After the drought the government should have taken the good relations with the IMF to their advantage and borrowed money that would be used for industrial development, improving machines in industry and creating new industry that would produce goods for exports that would compete with other products firstly in Africa and then the world this would be a means to generate income for balance of payments as well as to bring in foreign currency. This would be a win, win for all because with more industry means more employment and with more employment means high standard of living for the people and also government makes money through income taxes, customs and taxes on business too. This money would then be reinvested in the economy for infrastructure development (which also creates jobs, promotes business by giving local companies contracts). Some economists argue that Economic development leads to social and political development. This could have been true for Zimbabwe.

By 1989 there were negative signs in the economy but it could still thrive in the next decade, considering that ruling party leaders had political or military relations with China (it provided military training to ZANLA forces in the liberation struggle). Based on these relations the government could have adopted the Alternative approach when coming up with economic policy like China did. There are some similarities between the two economies in terms of socialism/communist state controlled economies especially for Zimbabwe in the first decade of independence and even on the principle behind the FTLR later in 2000. So government could have adopted Chinese approach to create a private sector driven economy within a socialist like system. This alternative approach worked for China (it created a private sector driven economy in a communist state) it could have worked for Zimbabwe.

If jobs had been created there would have never been complications with the ZCTU, and there would have never had as many demonstrations. Probably the MDC would have not been formed although opposition is healthy in modern politics it was inevitable it was going to happen but maybe circumstances would have been different.

Looking at the entire history of independent Zimbabwe there were four factors that led to the economic downfall. Firstly the events explained in chapter two, it is reasonable to state that this decade was indeed the turning point in the economic history of Zimbabwe due to the introduction of ESAP which was a complete failure and a cause of the ultimate suffering of the Zimbabwean people as well as events in 1997 “Black Friday” that can be blamed for the economic collapse. This was further worsened by the sending of military troops to DRC. Lastly what caused the economic downfall was the land reform (Land Invasions) or FTLR, its consequences were severe for the people of Zimbabwe and the economy.


BACOSSI                   Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention

CFU                            Commercial farmers Union

CONSAS                    Constellation of Southern African States

CSO                            Central Statistics Office

ESAP                          Economic Structural Adjustment Programme

FTLR                          Fast Track Land Reform

GDP                            Gross Domestic Product

IMF                             International Monetary Fund

MERP                         Millennium Economic Recovery Programme

MDC                           Movement for Democratic Change

RBZ                            Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

UDI                             Unilateral Declaration of Independence

US                               United States

UK                              United Kingdom

ZANU PF                   Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front

ZANLA                      Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army


  1. Vusani,, M (2015) ‘Economic downfall of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2008’

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