|  NEWS

Zimbabwe’s economy is within the range of the regional growth forecast for this year, according to the latest report by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The AfDB says the Southern African region’s growth will average at 2.6% in 2024, reflecting muted economic conditions in South Africa, the largest economy in the region.

In regard to this year’s outlook for SADC (Southern African Development Community) economies, the AfDB forecasts Zimbabwe to register 3.6% growth, slightly higher than the Treasury’s forecast of 3.5% growth, The Zimbabwe Mail reports.

In addition, the bank’s forecast puts Zimbabwe within the average growth range of SADC economies, as South Africa is projected to hit 1.1% growth.

The growth rate in Botswana stands at 4.1%, Eswatini at 4.9%, Malawi at 3.3%, Mozambique at 5.0%, Namibia with 2.6% growth, Zambia with 4.7% and Mauritius with 5.0%.

Fighting inflation, tight monetary policy conditions as well as fiscal consolidation and stable exchange rates will be essential in achieving faster, more sustainable economic growth for SADC economies, including Zimbabwe, says the continent’s development financier.

The government and the private sector need to concentrate on increasing production to strengthen positive growth rates, according to the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Commerce at Bindura University of Science Education, Dr Zachary Tambudzai.

“The findings by the AfDB come at a time the region is grappling with the effects of the El Nino-induced drought. While there is resilience, it is really imperative to note that the predictions reveal a drop in all average growth rates from the previous year and this is a clear indication of how the drought and other macro-economic instabilities will have a bearing on overall growth. The fact that South Africa will also be having subdued conditions further dovetails into the AfDB predictions.

“However, hope has not been lost as what is just needed is to pay attention on other key economic drivers that have a potential to further scale up overall growth, taking into account interventions by the fiscal and monetary policy in ensuring stability. It is the need to be consistent that will further be crucial in ensuring that Zimbabwe realises positive growth rates,” he added.

Furthermore, the AfDB states that African economies need to boost investment in human capital and adopt a strategy focused on industrialisation based on their natural resources. This approach should emphasise adding value to raw materials and protecting against both local and global economic fluctuations.

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