IMF urges change in Zimbabwe

World financial body fears further economic damage unless reform comes soon.

    Analysts say that extending Mugabe's presidency may worsen Zimbabwe's economic woes [EPA]

    But many analysts believe that there is little chance of change in the government's policies.
    Victor Kurebwa, an economist with the Techfin Financial Research group, said Zimbabwe was "no longer following proper economic policies".
    He said: "The unfortunate thing is that current recommendations by the IMF will not be readily accepted by the government."
    The IMF's statement comes after Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party recently backed a proposal to extend Robert Mugabe's presidential term by another two years.
    Analysts have said that an extension to Mugabe's presidency would be likely to worsen Zimbabwe's economic situation.
    Food shortages
    Zimbabwe is suffering a chronic shortage of basic goods, including fuel and corn meal. Inflation is running at a record high and the country has an unemployment rate of over 70 per cent.
    The IMF statement noted the economic condition had grown worse since an earlier visit by analysts in January.
    The report said: "Inflation has accelerated while shortages of food, fuel, basic consumer goods and agricultural inputs remain acute."
    It also said: "Progress on structural reforms has been limited and uncertainty over property rights continues to depress investor confidence."

    On the black market, one US dollar is equal
    to 2,700 Zimbabwe dollars [EPA]

    The IMF is expected to decide whether to expel Zimbabwe  at a meeting of global leaders early next year.
    Zimbabwe previosuly avoided expulsion from the IMF for debt arrears of $295m by making a "surprise" payment of $120m.
    The country still owes the IMF $125m dollars.
    Since August, Zimbabwe's central bank has pegged its exchange rate at 250 Zimbabwe dollars to the US dollar, while on the black market one US dollar buys $2,700.
    An IMF team travelled to Zimbabwe on December 3 as part of its Article IV consultation discussions, which assess a country's economic health.
    The IMF's statement was released at the conclusion of the discussions.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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