UN Says Zimbabwe’s Proclaimed Economic Growth Is Worthless

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By Newsday

A UNITED Nations report released on Friday indicated that Zimbabwe’s 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) growth did not translate into improved living stands for millions of consumers.

Households remained under pressure from economic volatilities including price shocks and currency fragilities, the World Food Programme (WFP) said in the report, titled, Food Security and Markets Monitoring Report for December 2021.

The southern African country’s economy was projected to expand by 5% last year, after tapering off by 4% in 2020, mostly due to the impact of COVID–19-induced lockdowns, which ground most economic sectors.

Last year’s growth was driven by a good rainfall season, and the return of most companies to operations as lockdowns were eased.

“While the country’s economy grew by 5% in 2021 compared to a decline of 4% in 2020, this was largely driven by macro level growth in the mining and agricultural sectors and does not reflect the situation for the most vulnerable households in urban and rural settings who are still struggling to recover from the impact of COVID-19 and previous shocks experienced in the country, mainly drought and cyclones,” the WFP said.

It said the biggest crisis confronting Zimbabwe’s vulnerable groups was a fresh wave of price hikes, which have eroded earnings, throwing millions into more problems.

“In local currency terms, there was a general price increase for all food basket commodities during the month under review compared to the previous month by an average of 7%.

“When compared to the same time last year (December 2020), prices have increased by an average of 67%,” the report noted.

“The cost of other monitored food commodities including sugar, salt, kapenta and rice increased by an average of 24% during last year,” it added.

WFP said the continued increase in the cost of living, reported at $8 008,57 in December 2021, a 6% increase from the prior month’s $7 555,58, was negatively impacting food and nutrition security of vulnerable households in Zimbabwe.