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Zimbabwe, a lesson in how not to do things

29 October 2012, 13:05

Zimbabwe:  A lesson in how not to do things.

For some time now I have regularly accessed News 24, partly because it provides a reasonably reliable weather forecast  and also a quite comprehensive survey of events in SA and abroad.  One goes to Google, key in News24 and up comes www.news24.com and a selection of 6 newsworthy topics.  For a few months now one of these topics had been Julius Malema, who must certainly be a very prominent person to be worthy of such attention.  A click on Julius Malema brings up a number of news items and it then seems that Mr Malema is an outspoken individual, but this is a character trait of most politicians, whose job it is to articulate the demands and sentiments of their supporters. So what is it that Mr Malema says? Click on a news item relating to a recent visit to a country just north of us, Zimbabwe, and it seems that Mr Malema had gone there to discuss various matters with soulmates belonging to a political party called Zanu-PF, and to be nearer to a man that he admires very much, one Robert Mugabe. He came away with the conclusion that we have much to learn from these fellows.  We read that Mr Malema  regards Zimbabwe as an inspiration for Africa.  Zanu-PF managed to unseat the government of that country  some 32 years ago, and so, what is it that they have done for the people of Zimbabwe  in terms of economic progress and the quality of life of its citizens?

One measure of this is the Gross Domestic Product, GDP (PPP, per capita of a country in terms of purchasing power parity. Such figures are reported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the CIA and also by the University of Pennsylvania and can be accessed at   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita .

The World Bank did not give a figure for Zimbabwe, but the figures for all the countries that appear in all four listings are in close agreement. The IMF, the CIA and the U.of Pennsylvania all included Zimbabwe in their lists. From the list provided by the IMF I have extracted the data for African countries and  the results are shown below.  The rank assigned reflect GDP (PPP) per capita in the IMF table and in descending order.  The Seychelles and Mauritius are island nations in the Indian Ocean and should perhaps not be listed as truly African countries.  Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are small oil rich countries in West Africa with atrocious human rights records. The fourth country on the list of African countries is Botswana and its Gross Domestic Product GDP (PPP) per capita of  $16107 is significantly better than that of either Mauritius or South Africa that occupies the 5th and 6th rankings, respectively. In the IMF table these two countries are ranked 63rd and 80th in a list that includes 185 countries. Most African countries can be found in  the lower half of the IMF table, and in all three lists, that of the IMF, that of the CIA and of the University of Pennsylvania, Zimbabwe is the second lowest ranked country.

Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, so much admired by Mr Malema and certain sectors of the ANC, therefore, seems to have ruled Zimbabwe for the past 32 years with disastrous consequences.  Would it not have been more appropriate for Mr Malema to have travelled to Botswana to establish what it has done to attain a GDP (PPP) per capita that is significantly better than that of the largest economy in Africa? Perhaps our own leadership should also have a closer look. 

Our country faces a multitude of problems. Several rainbow countries have not survived the test of time, eg Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union,  Checkoslovakia and the Sudan and no country  can  sustain an influx of  low skilled workers and a simultaneous efflux of highly skilled ones, such as we have experienced for more than 20 years now.   What we need is a serious debate on how to overcome such problems and not racist rantings that are widely publicized.

African Countries:  Gross Domestic Product at purchasing power parity, GDP (PPP),                                           per capita:  International Monetary Fund:  Data compiled in October 2012. Rank refers

  to position in a Table to compares 185 countries.

                    

Rank     Country                   USD$      Rank        Country                                    USD$    

39

Seychelles

    25,357

159

Zambia

            1,611

48

Equatorial Guinea

    19,321

160

Tanzania

            1,610

56

Gabon

    16,313

161

Cote d’Ivoire

            1,590

58

Botswana

    16,105

162

Uganda

            1,385

63

Mauritius

    14,962

163

 Rwanda

            1,325

80

 South Africa

    10,970

165

 Burkina-Faso

            1,302

87

Tunisia

      9,389

169

Guinea-Bissau

            1,144

100

Namibia

      7,451

170

Sierra Leone

            1,132

105

Egypt

      6,455

171

 Mali

            1,128

107

Libya

      6,017

172

 Ethiopia

            1,092

109

Angola

      5,924

173

 Mozambique

            1,090

116

Swaziland

      5,301

174

 Guinea

            1,086

117

Morocco

      5,080

175

 Togo

            1,048

125   

Congo, Rep

      4,543

177

 Madagascar

              944

137

Ghana

      3,113

178

 Malawi

              851

142

Nigeria

      2,582

179

  Niger

              771

146

Cameroon

      2,259

180

 Central African. Republic

              767

149

 South Sudan

      2,134

181

 Eritrea

              735

151

Mauritania

      2,008

182

 Liberia

              627

152

 Senegal

      1,970

183

 Burundi

              605

153

Gambia, The

      1,943

184

 Zimbabwe

              515

154

Lesotho

      1,918

185

 Congo, Dem. Rep

              349

156

 Chad

      1,867

157

Kenya

    1,741

           

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