ZIMBABWE was one of the top economic performers on the continent with average annual growths of 7% in the period 2008-2012, a key prerequisite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a new report released on Monday has shown.
Report by Ndamu Sandu
According to the Economic Report on Africa 2013, the top 10 performers were Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Libya, Ghana, Rwanda, Liberia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Mozambique respectively.
“In 2008-2012, the top 11 growth performers in Africa reached 7% threshold estimated as a prerequisite for achieving the MDGs, with Ethiopia and Sierra Leone the top two (performers),” the report says.
Zimbabwe has been on a growth trajectory spurred on by the stability created by the use of multi-currencies at the inception of an inclusive government four years ago.
Analysts, however, contend that Zimbabwe is coming from a low base and hence the high growth rates. The economy’s growth is driven by the exports of primary commodities mainly tobacco and minerals.
This has led to calls for value-addition to derive maximum benefits from commodities.
According to the report, Africa relies heavily on the exportation of primary commodities and has to industrialise and raise agricultural productivity if it is to achieve a global growth pole.
It said the dependence on exports is seen in export product concentration and diversification indices that measure the degree of export concentration within a country.
Industrialised countries are characterised by values closer to zero, reflecting very diversified export sectors. Zimbabwe had a score of 0,20.
“More than half the 53 African countries, however, have an index equal to or higher than 0,40, and one quarter of them have an index equal to or higher than 0,60, marking dependence on a narrow range of products, such as hydrocarbons in Angola.
“In comparison, the average export concentration indices in 2011 were 0,12 for Asia and 0,13 for Latin America,” the report said.
The export diversification index measures the extent to which the structure of trade of a particular country differs from the world average.
Zimbabwe’s index was 0,73.
This index helps analysts to overcome a potential problem of the concentration index.
“All African countries have a diversification index of 0,5 or higher, meaning they have lower diversification levels than the world average,” the report said.
The report—whose theme for this year is “Making the most of Africa’s commodities: Industrialising for Growth, Jobs and Economic Transformation” — was co-produced by the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission.