June 6, 2006
How to Stretch a Dollar in Zimbabwe
In writing about Zimbabwe and its “Drive Out the Trash Campaign” a few days ago, which has displaced thousands in Harare. I wanted to share today’s post from This is Zimbabwe, which provides good analysis on how far money goes in a country where inflation is the highest in the world, reaching almost 1200% in May.
Zimbabwe was once an exporter of grain in southern Africa, but has suffered food shortages over the last five years as its agricultural sector faced drought and disruptions linked to President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reforms which has seized white-owned farms to redistribute among blacks. In addition, the bloggers writes:
“The frightening thing about the rise of more than 1000% in school fees, is that large numbers of children will drop out of school, and others will not even be able to get any education at all. This is the second time this year that school fees have been hiked and, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) statistics for the period 1996 to 2004, only 44 percent of boys and 42 percent of girls who were enrolled in a secondary school actually attended classes (probably due to hunger and poverty). This is a grim future for our children, and for our country too.”
IRIN News also posted an article yesterday on how remittance and how 50% of the households in Harare and Bulawayo relied on goods and money from relatives living outside Zimbabwe. Harare-based economist James Johwa said in the article that remittances played a key role in stabilising household food security and access to essential services like hospital care and education.
The Global Poverty Research Group also has published a report last month on remittance and poverty reduction in Zimbabwe. In its second appendix it has responses from people directly affected by the government’s Drive Out the Trash campaign.