Monday, April 22, 2019
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Zimbabwe economy to grow by 6 percent: Finance minister

The economy is projected to surpass the original budget projection of 4.5 percent, finance minister says.

Zimbabwe's economy is expected to grow by more than six percent this year driven mainly by agriculture and mining, as the government seeks to boost growth after the fall of Robert Mugabe, the finance minister said.

"Indications are that the economy will grow by 6.3 percent against the original budget projection of 4.5 percent," Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said at a news conference on Monday in Harare.

"However the quality of the growth, which is primarily being driven by two sectors of agriculture and mining is obviously not inclusive," he added.

Ncube said Zimbabwe faced foreign currency and cash shortages, an unsustainable budget deficit and difficulties re-engaging with international lenders and investors after the Mugabe era.

"These challenges call for urgent reforms," he said when the central bank presented a monetary policy statement.

"Bold decisions need to be taken on the reforms front in order to stimulate growth and sustainable development."

The finance minister said the country was saddled with $16.9bn debt and was working to clear a $2.5bn debt with the African Development Bank and to ask key Paris Club members to restructure a $2.8bn debt.

"Debt resolution will help restore the international credit standing of Zimbabwe, resulting in improved access to new external credit lines and investment flows," Ncube said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was elected in a disputed election in July, has vowed to revive the moribund economy since he took power last year after Mugabe was removed by a military intervention.

Under Mugabe, the economy was shattered by corruption, botched land reforms and government policies that saw investors flee, mass unemployment and the near-collapse of public services.

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