Don’t be deceived
Time for investors to rush back to Zimbabwe?
Despite the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange’s 200% gain this year, there are some big macroeconomic issues that must be fixed before Zimbabwe is considered ‘investable’
So Robert Mugabe, the one-time teacher and holder of six degrees, has resigned as president of Zimbabwe. His ruinous policies dismantled his country’s economy during his 37-year reign. But that doesn’t mean investors should be rushing back. Mugabe, Africa’s second-longest serving dictator after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang (who took over in a military coup in 1979), tipped the dominoes into motion two weeks ago by sacking his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa. It was his final act of overreach — a surprisingly impetuous act for a man who’d rarely misread the mood in his political machinations — but designed to clear the way for his wife, the Benoni-born former typist Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.It evoked Ernest Hemingway’s description of how one goes bankrupt: gradually, then very suddenly indeed. Which mirrors his stewardship of the economy. Today, per capita incomes, which peaked at US$1,342 in 1999, before Mugabe’s chaotic land resettlement programme, are down by a third to arou...