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World Bank Projects Zimbabwe’s Economy Will Have A Modest Growth Rate In 2023

The World Bank has projected that Zimbabwe’s economy will grow at a modest growth rate in 2023 against a weakening global economic growth outlook, according to Xinhua.

Speaking at the Economic and Business Outlook Symposium, organized by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare on Wednesday, World Bank Senior Economist for Zimbabwe Stella Illieva said Zimbabwe’s economic growth is projected to be around 3.6 per cent in 2023, a slight increase from 3.4 per cent recorded in 2022.

Commenting on global growth projections, Illieva said growth in the sub-Saharan Africa region is more promising than the global outlook, as global growth is expected to decelerate to 1.7 per cent this year, the weakest in three decades.

She said rising geopolitical tensions and trade fragmentation elsewhere as well as climate change shocks will result in a significant slowdown of growth.

Illieva added that weakening economic activities in the global economy will have spillover effects on emerging markets and developing countries, which include Zimbabwe. She said:

Aggressive monetary policy tightening to contain high inflation, deteriorating financial conditions, and continued disruptions from the war in Ukraine are the drivers of this worsening economic performance on a global scale.

Growth in South Africa, the major trading partner of Zimbabwe, is expected to weaken further this year to 1.4 per cent before reaching 1.8 per cent in 2024, she said.

In addition, Illieva said the weak growth in global markets will have an adverse effect on the prices of metals and other commodities which Zimbabwe depends on. She said: 

Prices of gold, tobacco, and platinum have been in decline since 2022; this trend is expected to continue this year, at least for gold and tobacco.

She added that unfavourable terms of trade mean higher import bills and cost of living, fewer exports, and pressure on the domestic currency and labour market.

Her projections are slightly lower than the 3.8 per cent projections made by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube last year during the presentation of the 2023 national budget last November.

Ncube said the growth would be driven by favourable international commodity prices, a good agricultural season, and tight monetary and fiscal policy, among other reasons.

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