Wry & Dry

Another failed state

W&D irregularly brings readers up to date with basket-case economies.  Brazil, Venezuela and South Australia have all recently adorned W&D's pages.

But, in keeping with W&D's global perspective, this week the microscope turns to Zimbabwe.

Readers will recall that as recently as 2000, Zimbabwe was the strongest economy in Africa.  Not only with amazingly fertile farmland but also rich in minerals.

It is also home to one of the most extraordinary sites of natural beauty, the Victoria Falls.

But President Mugabe, the 'Butcher of Zimbabwe', and his economic policies, genocide, corruption and brutal repression of dissidents has led to a failed state.

ZimbabweZimbabwean currency before it was abandoned

Some economic highlights:

  • Zimbabwe's GDP per capita, as a percentage of the world average fell from 60% in 1980 to 5% in 2014
  • Inflation hit 11,200,000% in 2008 causing the government to issue new 100 billion Zimbabwean dollar notes
  • That failed, and so the Zim dollar was suspended and the US dollar, South African rand and Euro become the country's currency  
  • In 2013, the Finance Ministry reported it had only $217 in its treasury
  • Unemployment is more than 96%
  • Government spending is 97.8% of GDP

The country has run out of money.  And cannot pay any government employees.  

So there is now a nationwide strike.  Or '#ZimShutdown'.

This will end in tears.  And a possible repeat genocide. 

Oh, how did Mugabe get to power?  Well, that's another, longer, story.  Suffice to say that the idealistic leader most responsible for getting him there has now passed to the great latte lounge in the sky.