The Zimbabwean government is upbeat about massive achievements in projects outlined under its Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) blueprint, in spite of evidence the socio-economic environment is much worse than it was when the policy was adopted three years ago.
Authorities told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) they had implemented projects worth more than $400 million in 2015, a sign that things could be improving in the beleaguered southern African nation.
we need to mobilise more financing and prioritise projects
Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mngudya spoke glowingly “massive achievements” made so far, saying $431,9 million had been spent on water, energy, transport, irrigation and housing infrastructure projects.
“We conducted a mid-term review of our economic blueprint, Zim-Asset. The outcome of that review suggests that we need to mobilise more financing and prioritise projects,” they wrote to IMF.
“To finance some of our projects, we have resorted to non-concessional loans, especially in the area of infrastructure investment, development partner support as well as statutory funds.”
While the two are upbeat, critics say ZimAsset is a failed project, as there are no tangible benefits.
The five-year programme requires $27 billion for implementation, almost three times Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product, which many say is beyond the southern African nation.
As part of ZimAsset, the government pledged to create 2.2 million jobs in five years, but in one month alone, at least 30,000 jobs were lost, while company closures have become the hallmark of the Zimbabwean economy.
The government also targeted food security as one of the pillars of growth, but now Zimbabwe is relying on food handouts, receiving a curious donation of bananas and cassava from Equatorial Guinea, which President Robert Mugabe dutifully passed on to party supporters last Friday.