Poverty, lack of jobs 'drive millions to rural areas in Zim'

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A new study by the Labour Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ), has reportedly claimed that poverty and lack of jobs have driven millions of Zimbabweans out of urban centres to rural areas over the past 20 years.

According to Financial Gazette, LEDRIZ director, Godfrey Kanyenze said that at least 1.14 million people relocated from urban centres to rural areas between 1994 and 2014.

He said that a "substantial number of people left the urban centres in 2001" as the often chaotic land reform programme by former president Robert Mugabe's government heightened.

Kanyenze said "rapid de-industrialisation, deteriorating economic environment and increased unavailability of decent jobs in the urban centres" was one of the leading causes of increased urban migration.

He said that most of those who left the cities for rural areas were women and children due to difficulties in affording the expensive city life.

"Affording rentals is becoming difficult for many because rewarding jobs are not easily coming by hence most people are realising that rural life is cheaper and gives them the advantage of being able to produce their own food," Kanyeza was reported as saying.

The southern African country’s moribund economy reportedly led to the closure of several companies as they no longer were able to do business in the country.

According to Zimbabwe Independent, thousands of workers were forced out of jobs in 2016 following the closure of more than 260 companies from various sectors and declining economic environment.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions showed that at least 229 companies closed shop in the first half of that year.

"At least 81 companies closed in the first quarter of the year. The closures, in the first quarter, were from the hotel and catering sector, which was the hardest hit with 69 companies shutting down, mining sector (seven) and engineering (five), bringing the total to 81. In the second quarter of the year, 148 companies folded from three sectors, namely construction, clothing and motoring," the report said.

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