Zimbabweans among Africa’s poorest

Richman, poorman...These squatters are next to the leafy suburb of Gunhill in Harare. Picture: Hardlife Samuwi

ZIMBABWEANS are among the poorest people in Africa, with the country’s controversial indigenisation laws expected to further erode their wealth, while South Africa tops the continent’s list of wealth per capita, a new survey released on Tuesday showed.

South Africa’s wealth per person last year was $11 310, according to research by consultancy New World Wealth, which has offices in the UK and South Africa. South Africa’s wealth per person grew 169% from $4 200 in 2000. Zimbabwe’s wealth per capita last year stood at $570.

This was slightly better than that of Tanzania ($450), Mozambique ($430), Uganda ($360) and Ethiopia ($260).

Wealth per capita is a measure of the net assets held by individuals including real estate, shares, business interests and intangibles, while excluding primary residences, according to the research released on Tuesday.

Should Zimbabwe continue with its controversial indigenisation programme, which requires foreign companies to cede 51% shareholding in their companies to locals, its citizens’ wealth would continue to erode, said senior analyst at New World Wealth, Andrew Amoils.

Zimbabwe was among the wealthiest African countries in 2000, ranked ahead of Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, Zambia and Ghana, he said. In the past 13 years, it has fallen far behind these countries, due partly to the erosion of ownership rights, currency devaluation and hyperinflation. Fortunes improved in 2009 when it adopted the US dollar as its official currency and formed a unity government.

But now the Movement for Democratic Change’s exclusion from government, the indigenisation programme, the lack of a free press and the threat of abandoning the dollar as official currency have raised fears that the country’s economic situation could further deteriorate, Amoils said. “We have already seen people queuing up at the banks . . . everything that can go wrong has, so it is difficult to know where the country can go from here.”

In contrast, Libya ($11 040 wealth per capita), Tunisia ($8 400), Algeria ($6 250), Morocco ($5 780) and Egypt ($4 350) rank high on the list.
Namibia, with per capita wealth of $10 500, and Botswana at $6 580 were among the top-ranked countries in Africa last year. This was, however, well below the global average of $27 600 and a fraction of that of the top-ranked countries such as Switzerland and Australia with wealth per capita of more than $250 000.
When it comes to fastest-growing countries by economic growth per capita from 2000 to 2012, Angola tops the continental list, followed by Ghana and Zambia.
The figures for last year are not yet available.
— bdlive.co.za


  1. Its the legacy of an overstayed stabborn president who thinks he was born to be an eternal heir and uses all countrys resources to maitain his hard grip.
    Bhora mugedhi nonsense and imaginery sanction scapgoat.

    Go and rest mugabe. Noone in the world has confidence in you including the Chinese.
    Zimbabwe needs to go forward

  2. Sad news in a country that
    1. Has more diamond deposits than Botswana
    2. More platinum per capita than South africa
    3. Gold deposits like Ghana
    4. More tourist attractions than kenya with a 7th natural world wonder
    5. More agricultural potential than malawi.
    6 the most educated population
    in the continent.

  3. i dont believe it. i m forced to question the authenticity of the research findings and the objectivity of the the researcher. we are not as poor though tghings are not so good as they shld be. we used to go to school barefooted during our days and footwear was a luxury for the elite. the opposite is true these days; tell me we are getting poorer and i will rubbish your claims left, right and centre. what really was/is the researcher’s agenda?

  4. @ Mosmar, the research is talking about per capita wealth, and the very items being measured are mentioned in the article. It’s pretty clear that living standards over time have improved for the majority of our people, but at for the past couple of years, they have stagnated, even reversed whilst the rest of the world was experiencing growth. We seriously do not even need this research to tell us what we can see on the ground ourselves. Things are bad and it’s sad considering the huge potential we have as alluded to.

  5. Come to think of it that we boast of all those mineral reserves and good education but what is there to show for it? Mosmar if you don’t believe like doubting Thomas then do your own research it is that simple. The writing is on the wall. our nation is where it is now because of the thieving govt ,the head and everyone there.

  6. Drc has more minerals in the ground but it is poor,as long as their in the ground the mean nothing,on education literacy means being able to write and read only

  7. The truth is always painful . We are the poor of the poorest bcoz of Mugabe who does not want to leave .If i had known during the war that we were fight ing to have Mugabe become king i would have supported Smith .We remember you Ian you once said my people are the happiest in Africa but you were rebuked now we see it we were happier during your tenure than now under this menemene.

  8. thanx Green leaf n TK. we are potentially rich, that i agree for sure, though we are failing to realise the potential. however, the asertion that we are among the poorest in Africa is just but an overstatement, whatever the criteria employed to arrive at such conclusions. if whatever instruments used in the research place us among the poorest, they are not reliable and can not achieve their desired objective. those should be discarded instead for more reliable ones.

  9. Can you please look at the things that are considered to arrive at the wealth per capita figures. In SA all those things are owned by whites & in Lybia the figure can’t b that high coz the country is in ruins so the results of this research if ever there was one cannot b taken seriously.

  10. Vanhu ve MDC T musatinyangadza ndimi moga munozvitambudza, maiti tinotamba pataitora minda, tikati indigenisation mukati tirikuseka, honai manje tobuda matumbu imi muchingowondoroka……hechoooooooo!!!!

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