Week 4

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

2.7 million Zimbabweans need food aid as El Nino compounds a drought crisis, UN food program says

The U.N. World Food Program says it is working with Zimbabwe’s government and aid agencies to provide food to 2.7 million rural people in the country as the El Nino weather phenomenon contributes to a drought crisis in southern Africa 

Food shortages putting nearly 20% of Zimbabwe’s population at risk of hunger have been caused by poor harvests in drought-ravaged areas where people rely on small-scale farming to eat. El Nino is expected to compound that by causing below-average rainfall again this year, said Francesca Erdelmann, WFP country director for Zimbabwe. 


Zimbabwe has weakest currency and highest inflation globally, US economist Steve Hanke says

Prominent US economist Steve Hanke has said that Zimbabwe has the weakest currency against the greenback and the highest inflation rate in the world.  

He argued that one needs 12,500 Zimbabwe dollars to buy one greenback.  This makes the unit the globe’s weakest. 

Hanke estimated Zimbabwe’s annual inflation at 1,072% with Argentina’s in second place at 220% followed by Syria’s at 121%.


Price stampede… as bread shoots to US$1,30

Prices of most basic commodities, particularly food items, have surged by more than 30% since last year as the Zimbabwe dollar continues to lose value against the greenback. The new 15% value-added tax (VAT) that kicked in on January 1 this year after its introduction in the 2024 National Budget by Finance, Economic Development and Investment 

Promotion minister Mthuli Ncube has triggered a rise in prices of basic commodities including bread, milk, sugar, soap and cooking oil. Bread price, the foremost indicator of a price stampede, shot past the US$1 to US$1,30. 


D-Day for Job Sikhala

Former opposition legislator Job Sikhala will know his fate today when the Magistrates Court delivers a ruling in a case he is being charged with inciting public violence. Sikhala has been in detention since his arrest in June 2022 accused of mobilising opposition supporters to riot and avenge the death of murdered Citizens Coalition for Change activist, Moreblessing Ali. 

The former legislator has had his appeals to be released on bail turned down countless times, with the courts describing him as an unrepentant repeat offender capable of committing more crime.   


Govt upbeat on Zim, UK re-engagement The Herald (state owned)

Government has expressed its commitment to the resuscitation of the bilateral and economic cooperation with the United Kingdom as the engagement and reengagement drive by the Second Republic continues to bear fruit. 

This was said by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava today when he met with a delegation from the Westminister Africa Business Group, a company which seeks to promote business between Africa and the United Kingdom. 


China-Zimbabwe trade surges by 29.9% in 2023

Trade between China and Zimbabwe hit a record high of 3.12 billion U.S. dollars in 2023, reflecting a 29.9 percent increase from the previous year, the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe said Monday. 

“Zimbabwe exported 1.71 billion dollars to China and imported 1.41 billion dollars from China, resulting in a trade surplus of 307 million dollars for Zimbabwe,” the embassy posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Trade between China and Zimbabwe has experienced positive growth in recent years, primarily driven by minerals and tobacco exports to China. 


The changing remittance economy in Zimbabwe

The flow of remittances to Zimbabwe is huge, with diaspora remittances from outside the country estimated at over US$1 billion per annum, or around 16% of total foreign exchange receipts. This comes from a large network in the diaspora, whether in the region (mostly South Africa) or further afield, including the UK. Remittances also flow internally within the country, from people working in town in government jobs or in businesses of different sorts.

Although the demographic cycle of largely male migration to formal jobs resulting in remittances flowing to rural areas for investment – in the past mostly cattle – has changed, the remittance economy is still important as the headline statistics show. How does this work? What mechanisms are used for transfers? What investments result?


Vehicles with no valid licences to be denied passage at toll gates – Mhona

Vehicles driven on the country’s highways without valid licences shall be denied passage at toll gates, Transport Minister Felix Mhona has declared. 

“Any person who willfully damages, defaces, or alters in any way any tolling infrastructure shall be liable for its replacement cost as may be determined by the Road Fund,” Mhona said in his SI. 


President hails solid Zim, Belarus bilateral cooperation The Herald (state owned)

President Mnangagwa and First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa receive an ultra-modern mobile hospital donated by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko to Angel of Hope Foundation from Professor Irina Abelskaia at State House in Harare

The President was speaking at State House yesterday after witnessing Health and Child Care Ambassador First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation taking delivery of an ultra-modern, top-notch mobile hospital from President Lukashenko in a development expected to enhance her capacity to serve disadvantaged communities in all corners of the country, including hard-to-reach areas. 


ZimParks transformation pays dividend

The transformation of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has resulted in sustainable conservation in the country, a new report has shown. An evaluation of ZimParks was requested and supported by the European Commission during the 2015-2016 period.  

Consulting firm ARS Progetti Consortium was contracted to do the independent evaluation which was completed in 2016. A final report was submitted in February 2017.Several challenges affecting the performance of ZimParks were identified in the process, among them, poor financial management. 


Heavy tax chews up civil servants’ US$300 salary

Civil servants have bitterly protested over the government’s heavy taxation of their United States dollar salary component, which is leaving them with little US$ disposable income.Government recently converted the civil servants’ US$300 COVID-19 allowances into permanent pensionable salaries and the first batch of workers, including uniformed forces and health workers, received the money last week. 


More than 160 elephants die in Zimbabwe, with many more at risk

Drought in Hwange national park was the cause of most of the deaths, and wildlife experts fear the climate crisis could make such events look normal 

At least 160 elephants have died as drought conditions hit Zimbabwe, and with hot, dry weather likely to continue, conservationists fear there could be more deaths to come. 

The elephants died between August and December last year in the 14,651 sq km Hwange national park, which is home to endangered elephants, buffalo, lions, cheetahs, giraffes and other species. At least six other elephants have recently been discovered dead outside the park in suspected poaching incidents. 


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