Macroeconomic and Structural Adjustment Policies in Zimbabwe

Macroeconomic and Structural Adjustment Policies in Zimbabwe

Macroeconomic and Structural Adjustment Policies in Zimbabwe

Macroeconomic and Structural Adjustment Policies in Zimbabwe

Synopsis

The essays in this book examine Zimbabwe's macroeconomic and structural adjustment experiences since independence. Part One analyzes the impact on economic growth, inflation, employment and labor markets. Part Two deals with financial liberalization, and the financial turmoil and currency crisis experienced in the wake of reforms. Part Three examines trade liberalization and its impact on investment and income distribution. Part Four gives sectoral perspectives on the agricultural, manufacturing, and health sectors.

Excerpt

During the first decade of independence (1980–90) Zimbabwe had a high degree of government intervention and a controlled macroeconomic policy environment. This was partly due to the government's continuation of the policy regime it had inherited from the UDI period that immediately preceded African majority rule and partly the result of the government's socialist orientation. In a major shift in the policy regime in 1991, the government embarked upon a structural adjustment program aimed at removing these regulations and controls and adopting a more market-based system of economic management. The results of the two decades of macroeconomic policy have been mixed, partly because of negative exogenous shocks and partly due to policy failures. What lessons has Zimbabwe learned from the 20 years of experience with macroeconomic policy and management? How has Zimbabwe's experience differed from that of other Sub-Saharan African and other developing countries? How can the observed outcomes be explained? At the turn of the twenty-first century, serious problems confront the economy with no clear consensus as to the way forward. What changes in macroeconomic management are needed in order to enhance the growth capacity of the economy? While valid criticisms of the government's past management of the economy have been made, much research remains to be done to generate viable policy options for the future. This book makes an important contribution in this direction.

The chapters contained in this volume were originally presented at an international conference entitled ‘Zimbabwe: Macroeconomic Policy, Management and Performance since Independence: Lessons for the 21st Century’, which was held in Harare, from 18 to 21 August 1998. The objective of the conference was to bring together policy makers, academic researchers and economists who have been analyzing these problems in order to provide guidelines for the future direction of policy. The participants included senior Zimbabwean policy makers and academics and several international scholars whose research interests focused on the Zimbabwean economy. The chapters included in this volume were selected from a total of 38 papers presented at the above conference. The selection was based largely on their thematic and policy relevance to the overall argument of this book. The papers were subsequently revised and updated by the authors in the light of comments received at the conference and also in line with editorial requirements. In several cases, related conference papers were merged to become co-authored chapters in this book. The editor is extremely grateful to the authors for agreeing to this.

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