[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
IMF warning on Zimbabwe economy
Black market kiosks set on fire in Harare
Attacks on illegal traders have made things worse, the IMF said
Zimbabwe's economic decline has worsened, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said, with inflation set to reach 400% by the end of the year.

In its 2005 review, the IMF estimated that Zimbabwe's GDP would fall 7% this year, a widening of 2004's 4% drop.

The IMF blames the situation on the growing inflation, foreign exchange shortages and low farm output - and on recent attacks on black market traders.

In contrast, the government in Harare predicts the economy will grow in 2005.

The administration of President Robert Mugabe has estimated that the economy shrunk just 2.5% in 2004, and will actually expand 2% this year on the back of improved tobacco and wheat crops and a successful mining sector.

The government also insists that inflation is much less than the IMF's figure.

But the IMF said that both long-lasting economic trends and recent events meant that forecast was far too rosy.

The government's ongoing programme of destroying the premises of shantytown traders simply reduced trading activity and people's incomes, the IMF warned.

Food imports

Opposition and overseas critics have blamed Zimbabwe's economic crisis primarily on Mr Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.

Without a bold change in policy direction, the economic outlook will remain bleak
IMF report

Starting back in 2000, white farmers have had their farms forcibly seized.

The policy has crippled agricultural production in the country, leading to food shortages and an unemployment rate of more than 70%.

Zimbabwe now has to import at least 37,000 tons of maize a week to help feed its population.

The government says it plans to help more than 2m people who are short of food.

Inflation will increase from 130% in January 2005 to 400% in January 2006, the IMF said.

"Without a bold change in policy direction, the economic outlook will remain bleak, with particularly detrimental effects on the poorest segments of the population," said the organisation.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific