Zim aims for up to 6% economic growth in 2009

Zimbabwe can achieve economic growth between 4% and 6% in 2009 and is coping with the lack of foreign aid, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Thursday.

He also said steps will be taken to restrict central bank activities such as borrowing.

A new unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the country needs about $10-billion overall to stabilise an economy damaged by chronic unemployment, disinvestment, acute poverty and political strife.

“I think conservatively the growth will be 4%. I think we will be able to achieve a growth rate of at least 6%, although conservatively it will be 4% in 2009,” Tendai Biti told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Africa summit in Cape Town.

Tsvangirai is currently on a tour of Europe and the United States attempting to drum up cash from donors, but the trip has so far yielded few concrete pledges of new support.

Western donors say aid will only start flowing once Zimbabwe’s government creates a democracy and implements bold economic reforms.

“The fact that we’ve managed for the past four months to address our economy without any cent from anyone, shows me and convinces me as finance minister that we will do it and we can do it with or without huge financial resources that have benefited other African countries. So I’m not disappointed at all,” he said.

Biti, a senior official in Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, has been highly critical of central bank policies the party says destroyed the economy.

He said the government will restrict the activities of the central bank “so that the Reserve Bank cannot buy dresses or firewood again”.

“We are creating a board with oversight duties and ...
we are also restricting their capacity to borrow,” Biti said.—Reuters

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