UN Supports Zimbabwe’s Ongoing Economic Recovery and Growth Measures

Harare, 22 November 2015: We the United Nations System in Zimbabwe would like to pledge our full support to the ongoing economic and budgetary reform measures being implemented by the Government to stimulate growth and improve the social and economic wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe.UN ZIm Logo_6_0.png

We recognize the prevailing economic challenges which include a slowdown in growth, low international commodity prices, high levels of unemployment and poverty, increasing informalisation of economic activity, low agricultural productivity, and low domestic and foreign direct investment.

Moreover, persistent adverse weather patterns which are likely to leave 1.5 million people in need of assistance during the peak lean season of January to March 2016 are likely to place a further strain on the people of Zimbabwe. This could be further aggravated by the forecasted El Nino effect.

Challenges to full recovery and growth mainly stem from a constrained fiscal environment, which has been worsened by limited external financial inflows and declining revenues. On the other hand, huge recurrent expenditures, which took up to 92% of the national budget this year, have crowded out capital, social and development expenditures.

In the face of the challenges, Zimbabwe, with major support from development partners, has managed to restore and sustain the provision of basic social services. According to latest national surveys supported by the United Nations such as the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and the MDGs progress report, the number of women who die from pregnancy-related complications has decreased from 3,840 a year in 2009 to 2,456 a year in 2014. In addition, deaths of children aged five years and below have similarly declined from 37,600 a year in 2009 to 30,000 in 2014. In the education sector, the net enrolment rate remained high at 92% and the literacy rate at 99.6% in 2014. Moreover, the number of new HIV infections annually has declined from 100,000 a decade ago to 64,000 last year, while the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV has reduced to 9% in 2014 from 22% in 2009.

Sustaining and improving on these gains will require increased allocations and disbursements from the national budget. Thus far, development partners have been providing support in health, HIV, education, water and sanitation, social protection, women’s empowerment, skills development programmes for youth and women, and institutional strengthening in the areas of good governance.

In light of the current situation, continued strong engagement of development partners and maintaining the level of development assistance remains critical. However, as the ongoing economic recovery and growth reform measures start to bear fruits, the country would need to take measures to sustain these efforts.

In this regard, we welcome the Government’s ongoing efforts to rationalize expenditures and create sufficient space for capital, social and development expenditures.

We look forward to continuing our work with the Government as it embarks for the full implementation of the measures contained in the Government’s Mid-Year Fiscal Review of 2015. These include:

  • Continued re-engagement with all creditors on debt resolution to unlock additional streams of funding;
  • Adherence to fiscal reforms, including containing the wage bill;
  • Improving the expenditure mix towards more capital and social spending, in line with an improved fiscal space;
  • Continued improvements in the investment climate and ease of doing business;
  • Financial sector strengthening; and
  • Investment into the productive sector for promoting employment and growth, with focus on revitalizing food and agricultural sectors.

We reiterate our support to the formulation and implementation of policies that will positively contribute to improving the wellbeing of all Zimbabweans.

Media Contact: Mob #: +263 772 198 036; Email: sirak.gebrehiwot@one.un.org