World Economy

Zimbabwe 2nd Poorest Country in World

Zimbabwe 2nd Poorest Country in WorldZimbabwe 2nd Poorest Country in World

A global business magazine has ranked Zimbabwe one of the two poorest countries in the world in a damning verdict of President Robert Mugabe’s 35-year-rule.

On taking over power at independence in 1980, Mugabe was told by then presidents Samora Machel of Mozambique and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania that “You have the jewel of Africa in your hands. Now look after it,” AllAfrica reported.

Now 35 years later, Mugabe, in the twilight of his career, has succeeded in disappointing the late liberation luminaries. The “jewel” is “ruined, dishonored, disgraced”, said writer Doris Lessing.

The country, a former net food exporter, is perennially hungry; formal industry has all but collapsed and unemployment is around 90%, forcing more than a million citizens to resort to vending on the streets.

Confirming Zimbabwe’s precipitous fall from grace, Global Finance magazine ranked the country second bottom of its table of the world’s poorest countries. The magazine used data from the IMF to rank the world’s countries according to their GDP per capita.

The analysis also used a purchasing power parity basis, which takes into account the living cost and inflation rates, in order to compare living standards between the different nations.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, where citizens earn on average $394.25 a year, ranks as the poorest country in the world. Above the DRC was Zimbabwe where, in 2013, people earned $589.25 on average.

The only other SADC country in the bottom ten with Zimbabwe is Malawi, which is ranked 8th poorest with average annual incomes reaching $893 in 2013.

Zambia, whose Kwacha Zimbabweans loved to mock not so long ago, ranks far higher with annual average incomes more than double Zimbabwe’s at $1,800 in 2013 while in Mozambique citizens earned $1,200 on average in 2013.

Like the DRC, Zimbabwe is potentially rich with vast mineral resources, including gold, platinum and diamonds–the latter, according to former mines minister Obert Mpofu, supposed to be earning the country at least $2 billion per year.