05-12-18 by Spotlight Zimbabwe

Mugabe’s Land Reform Costs Zimbabwe $17 Billion: Economists


Zimbabwe has lost close to $17 billion in potential earnings in the wake of ex-president Robert Mugabe’s land reform programme launched 18 years ago, economists claim.

Independent Harare-based economist John Robertson says the country lost out on earnings from timber, cotton, tobacco, wheat and other commercially-produced crops.

Factories closed

“The $16.9 billion-worth of production lost would only be the start (and) Zimbabwe became a net importer… from 1998 as most of the food-processing companies reduced output, then closed down when commercial farming suppliers went down,” he said.

“Non-food agricultural declines such as cotton and timber production also caused the failure of most textile, clothing and paper-making companies,” Robertson said, in a research paper quoted by the private Financial Gazette.

Local economist Reuben Muzvagwandonga also said that losses could have totalled around $17 billion, with $1 billion lost per year, the paper said.

In 2000 supporters of Mugabe launched a campaign of sometimes violent land evictions that saw most of the country’s 4 000 or so white farmers forced off the land.

Tobacco, maize on the up

In recent years, tobacco production, including by new small scale black growers, has climbed. It is expected to reach 200 million kilogrammes this year, and a state-sponsored command agriculture programme launched in 2016 has boosted maize production.

The new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has ordered an end to illegal land takeovers and has said the few white farmers left on the land can be given 99-year-long leases like their black counterparts.


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  • Add to this the multiplier effect of the earnings being spent and recycled in the economy the true loss to the nation balloons to ten or twenty times! It is little wonder Zimbabwe has fallen from its perch as the country with the potential to become the South Korea of Africa to become the North Korea of Africa – a country ruled by ruthless despots and demagogues who are crashing the majority of their people into the dust!

    The people of Zimbabwe would have thrown Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs out of office and stop the farm invasions if they had a meaningful vote. Professor Jonathan Moyo, from his fox-hole in exile, admitted that Zanu PF has always lacked legitimacy since it has routinely rigged elections.

    The real challenge of this year’s election is first and foremost to make sure from hence forth elections are free, fair and credible. If these elections are not free and fair, with not even one reform in place that is now a certainty, then the process must be declared null and void and the country allowed to revisit the raft of democratic reforms agree in 2008 and make sure they are all implemented this time.

    Zimbabwe will never realise her true potential and give her people the peace and quality life they deserve until the cancer of rigged elections is dealt with decisively! Implement the democratic reforms and then hold the nation’s very first free, fair and credible elections – that is the nation’s holy grail!