Saturday, August 08, 2009

Zimbabwe: From breadbasket to basket case

Zimbabwe is an example of how to fu*k up a country in under a half dozen years. A glimpse into South Africa's future if the ANC does not reverse its disastrous land distribution policies.

Zimbabwe is the most food aid-dependent country in the world, aid agencies said on Tuesday.

Also, nearly 55% of children who died of cholera in the southern African country were malnourished.

This is according to a report released by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, quoting numbers from the World Food Programme (WFP).

"Per capita, Zimbabwe is now the most food aid-dependent country in the world. The WFP believes that seven-million people are in need of food assistance - somewhere between 65% and 80% of the population," the report states.

"The United Nations believes that 54% of all children who have died from cholera were malnourished, with 47% of the country's population undernourished."

The food crisis was caused by several factors including hyperinflation which disenfranchised many agriculture farmers, the report states.

"Zimbabwe's fields are sown with substandard seed, scavenged often from granaries or from the side of the road. It is extraordinarily unlikely that the 2009 harvest will significantly surpass 2008 - the worst in the country's history," says the report.

The country's woes started escalating in 2000 when President Robert Mugabe's government lost a referendum to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and sanctioned an aggressive land reform programme in which the majority of white farmers lost their land to war veterans.

This resulted in a food crisis, exacerbated by drought and later by hyper-inflation.

The country was plunged into socio-economic turmoil, political violence and eventually a collapse of infrastructure, alongside a deadly cholera epidemic last year that killed more than 4 000 people.

Edited by: Sapa

Hat tip: Black Coffee

2 Opinion(s):

Viking said...

good post; if African countries should have ONE economic policy, given years of starvation and disease, it should be: leave farmers the hell alone!

Exzanian said...

Zimbabwe's answer is so easy even I can suggest a simplistic solution: 10 or even 5 year incremental taxation; starting low. Open floodgates to FDI with low tax, stepping up over 5 - 10 years. Big profits to investors early on, until business is entrenched and then plateau tax out to normal, higher levels.
Hey Bobby, no whitey, no re-build!