THE year 2022 was eventful in the health sector, where outbreaks of diseases considered medieval such as measles and polio overtook the two-year global pandemic, COVID-19, in terms of deaths in a short space of time.
THE Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) says the majority of average households in the country may be starving owing to rising prices of food commodities.
In its latest food security outlook, Fewsnet said: “Following relative macro-economic stability over the last few months, prices are likely to continue increasing into early 2023, further reducing the market access of poor households to basic food and other commodities. “Parallel market exchange rates increased by nearly 15% in December from November, trading between 850-950 ZWL per USD, likely due to increasing demand for the ZWL and increased foreign currency inflows.”
Zimbabwe has achieved a record so far in wheat production by harvesting 375,000 metric tonnes (mt) at the end of 2022. However, this bumper harvest has left farmers struggling to prepare for the next farming season and settle their debts due to the millions of US dollars they are owed by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB); a State-owned grain trade and marketing company. Figures from the GMB show that as of mid-November 2022, the parastatal had received 120,000mt of wheat worth over Z$25m and Z$30bn (US$37.5m). About 22% of the delivered wheat has been paid for, with the remaining 78% still to be paid, according to GMB officials.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) says over 50,000 teachers are supporting the idea of going on strike when schools open next week.
In a statement, ARTUZ said it will organise nationwide industrial action as part of its efforts to push government towards reinstatement of the US$540 monthly salary for teachers. The teachers labour movement said about 99 percent of the 52,340 teachers interviewed by the organization backed the idea of going on a strike.
According to ARTUZ, teachers are currently earning ZW$40,000 and an additional US$200 in allowances, taking their gross income to US$250.
Inflation in Zimbabwe peaked at 280%, one of the highest rates globally. The Zimbabwean dollar also weakened, trading at $930 to the US dollar on the parallel market — a steep decline after two months of relative stability at $700 to US$1. This led to plummeting living standards in the Southern African country where 7,9 million people, amounting to half of the population, fell into extreme poverty between 2011 to 2022. The Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe, a grouping of more than 80 non-governmental organisations in the country, has gone as far as to warn that the coming election could become the bloodiest in Zimbabwe’s history. “In fact, as we edge towards 2023, we think it (political violence) is going to [get much worse],” Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe’s chairperson Peter Mutasa said.
A SURVEY on teen pregnancies conducted by child rights group, Zvandiri, indicates that 95% of teenage pregnancies were unintended and attributed to poverty. Speaking about the findings, Zvandiri programmes manager and medical doctor, Billiart Tapesana said: “We have got 95% of young mothers that we are working with whom through research we found out that they did not intend to get pregnant. Most of the pregnancies we are finding in adolescents are unintended.
Chinese companies that have made multimillion-dollar acquisitions in Zimbabwe will have to build lithium processing plants after the southern African nation banned the export of the metal in its raw form. Companies must either set up local processing plants or provide proof of exceptional circumstances – and receive written permission from the government – before lithium can leave the country. Zimbabwe is estimated to have the largest unexploited reserve of lithium in Africa and is the sixth-largest producer in the world. It imposed the export ban last week, as part of efforts to have lithium – the key raw material in electric-vehicle batteries – processed locally.
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) says it established more than 1 000 computer laboratories in learning institutions countrywide this year. Plans are underway to establish close to 700 more next year, Potraz director general Gift Machengete said.
ZIMBABWE has been adjudged a weak performer in terms of human development in areas of research, knowledge and innovation. This was revealed in the sixth edition of the Global Knowledge Index (GKI) Leaders report for 2022, which ranked the country at 113th position out of 132 countries in the Global Knowledge Index 2022.
Zimbabwe was also ranked number 21 out of 25 countries with medium human development. This comes soon after the 5th edition of the GKI leaders report for 2021 revealed that the country slipped 26 positions from its 2020 ranking of 104th to 130th out of 154 countries in terms of knowledge infrastructure.
Their parents passed away, and at 15, Elizabeth had already started engaging in sex work in order to earn a living. As an orphan and as they were struggling to survive, she dropped out of school at an early age, opting to earn a living through prostitution. She says she had no choice except to elope with one of her boyfriends. Elizabeth did not understand that the country’s laws forbade marriages for people below the age of 18. “I dropped out of school because we did not have enough money for fees. I was lying idle most of the time, and then I resorted to prostitution. After my sister chased me for engaging in prostitution, I went to live with one of my boyfriends,” Elizabeth told NewsDay.