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Trust the ingenuity of the Zimbabwean people

September 15, 2008

tupy.jpgMarian L. Tupy, The Cato Institute 

All economies, no matter how decrepit, can be revived through good institutions and economic freedom. That said, it is impossible to predict how quickly the people of Zimbabwe will be able to enjoy a notable improvement in their standard of living.

Zimbabwe today is one of the least politically and economically free countries in the world. The speed of Zimbabwe’s social and economic recovery will depend on the speed and extent of reforms.

Of immediate concern to the economic revival is hyperinflation, which will have to be stopped through dollarization or the establishment of a currency board. Taxes will have to be made simpler and lower to encourage productivity, and minimize tax evasion. Trade will have to be liberalized to allow influx of cheap imports to relieve the suffering of the Zimbabwean population. The business environment will have to be made friendly to private entrepreneurs through far-reaching deregulation.

Much will depend on the government’s success in ending political violence in Zimbabwe and restoring property rights or offering compensation to those whose land was expropriated by Mugabe. Respect for the sanctity of people and property will be an important part of a larger, long-term, goal of restoring the rule of law to Zimbabwe. Of course, the above is not an exhaustive list of reforms that the government will have to undertake, but it is a start.

The new government must realize that the future prosperity of Zimbabwe will not be achieved through dollops of foreign aid or micro-management by the World Bank and the IMF. The government should trust the ingenuity of the Zimbabwean people and allow their creative energies to rebuild the country with minimum bureaucratic hindrance.  


Allowing of cheap foreign goods, collapses industry and even further kills the economy. Most Western and developed economies agressively fight to protect their industry and productivity.

Posted by Concerned | Report as abusive

The key to creating economic revival momentum is the flow of fuel in service stations. If people still remember it was through the unavailability of fuel that things started to burst. I think initially there is need to establish a steady supply of fuel and other inputs, monitor smuggling of goods out of the country, deregulate pricing and apoint the right people to manage the Fiscal and Motetary fronts.

Posted by FARAI SITHOLE | Report as abusive

No Farai, theZimbabwean economy began to disintegrate when Mugabe seized farms. Zimbabwe’s GDP, at its highest point in the 80′s, was 75% agricultural based. The industrial sector was derived of many off-shoots of farming, ie spinning & weaving, milling, transport of agricultural goods etc. Zimbabwe cannot improve until farming is properly re-instated. Mugabe cannot steal farms and expect the world to pretend it never happened. 27% of employment in Zimbabwe in the 80′s came from farming, where do you expect those people to find jobs today? In my opinion, the economy of Zimbabwe will never recover until something is done to revive the farming sector…………..


The first thing to ensure a turn around in the economy is for the new government to demonstrate a strong willingness to tackle corruption and ensure respect of law and order.Unfortunately, thugs and servile judges of Mugabe are bent on protecting the powerful cronies of the dictator. Until Mugabe’s cronies in the Army, Police and Prison services can demonstrate willingness to promote the respect of law and order, Tsvangirai will face insurmountable obstacles in nurturing an economic take-off.The over 4 millions of Zimbabwean refugees are reluctant to return with Mugabe still controlling the security institutions. Who then will revive the agricultural sector? It’s not the corrupt jusdges who was recently given 4-wheel drive vehicles to enable them to visit their illegally acquired farms!Tsvangirai will have a daunting task to demonstrate how he can turn this bad deal into a winning formula. Will Mugabe cross his arms and allow Tsvangirai to steal the limelight and consolidate his popularity further amongst the sufferings masses of Zimbabwean voters?

Posted by Prem | Report as abusive

I have written this once, but it did not appear.It appears that Mr. Marian L. Tupy is one of those “experts” sitting in Washington who do not really know aht they are taking about.Marian L. Tupy: “Zimbabwe today is one of the least politically and economically free countries in the world.”—————–This is patently untrue. There are many Western allies in African alone that are 10 times more corrupt, less democratic, and les free than Zimbabwe. They include Egypt (where we have 20 years of emergency rule), Ethiopia, Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, etc.—————–Marian L. Tupy: “Trade will have to be liberalized to allow influx of cheap imports to relieve the suffering of the Zimbabwean population.”—————–This is the last thing Zimbabwe needs now. Flooding the market with cheap, subsidized goods with from West will not allow struggling local pruducers to recover. It will kill off local businesses and benefit only Western countries. Many African countries have tried this under IMF dictation and the result is devastating.—————–Marian L. Tupy: “…Restoring property rights or offering compensation to those whose land was expropriated by Mugabe”—————–Zimbabwe does not have the money to compensate white farmers for the land that was stolen from Zimbabweans. It is the responsibility of Britain to compensate those farmers who are required to give up their land during land redistribution.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Mr Tupi has hit the nail on the head. Zimbabwe’s problems will not be solved by pouring in loads of money in the economy. What is sadly lacking are institutional pillars of governance. Under Mugabe all institutions acted as his lapdogs barking to the tune of the omnipotent dictator. International donors should put in place performance indicators that should be attained before getting disbursing any incremental funds. The new government should be grateful to the Tupis of our world who want to make dictators an endangered species in our civilized world

Posted by SANCTUM Plumeria | Report as abusive

Life under Mugabe has certainly had its ups and downs, but I ask the question is the world ready for a Zimbabwe post Mugabe. More over is Zimbabwe really prepared for a world post Mugabe. There are so many things to consider and questions that remain unanswered that maybe we should really begin to seek out truths for some of the harder questions about how we will prepare ourselves to rebuild a shattered nation and who’s going to help us do it? Read more of my thoughts here:


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