ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ZIMBABWE Description: Pretty much self explanatory. This paper discusses the economicdevelopment in the country if Zimbabwe detailing the countries economicsuccesses and reasons for them. Economic Development in Zimbabwe The country of Zimbabwe is one of the most economically developed on the African continent . Afairly young political entity, Zimbabwe has only enjoyed recognized autonomy since 1980, the yearin which the United Kingdom repealed its imperialistic claims to the African nation . Despite itsyouth the country has achieved a level of economic development uncharacteristic of sub-SaharanAfrican nations. Second only to South Africa in economic development, Zimbabwe’s economicsystem is one indicative of a transitional country, a country making the transition from dependencyunderdevelopment to self-reliant industrialization. The purpose of this essay is to make a cursory butadequate examination of Zimbabwean socio-economic and political system, as means to analyzingthe countries economic development. The ultimate purpose of this study is to provide a model of thestructure necessary to achieve economic development where none previously existed. Zimbabwe isan appropriate model because the dynamics of underdevelopment to development in this countryare readily apparent. This model can be useful in understanding underdevelopment in other so called”third-world” countries and in determining what is necessary for these countries to make thetransition to industrialization. GeographyZimbabwe is a landlocked country in the southern, sub-Saharan area of the African continentbordered by South Africa to the South, Botswana to the West, Mozambique to the East andZambia to the North. With an area of 391,090 km2 Zimbabwe is only slightly larger than the stateof Colorado. Harare is Zimbabwe’s capital and largest city with a population of 1,100,000.Containing vast amounts of rare mineralogical resources and possessing a favorable growing climateZimbabwe’s economy is drawn almost equally between the mining of minerals ($2.2 billion) and theproduction of staples and cash crops ($2.1 billion) . PeopleZimbabweans are comprised of two primary ethnic groups, the Shona, comprising 74% of thepopulation and the Ndebele comprising 20%. Other ethnic black groups and Asians make up 4% ofthe population while whites make up just over 1% of the population. Zimbabwe has a population of10.35 million people with a population density of 24 persons per km2. 1992 census figures estimateZimbabwe’s growth at 3.0% with 90% of this growth rate within the Shona group. This 3.0%growth is quite rapid given its relation to the countries declining annual growth rate of -15% . HistoryZimbabwe’s history dates back to the 9th century A.D., the believed period in which many greatbuildings were built, buildings clearly indicative of an early and great civilization. Of the many sitesthe most impressive is the Great Stone House or Great Zimbabwe the source of the countries name.Despite the impressive nature of the Great Zimbabwe and the other building sites, it is believed thatthe civilization that created them did not survive to see the new millennium . Some 900 years after the construction of the Great Zimbabwe many other sights were built asZimbabwe became the object of British colonialism in 1888. It was in this year that John CecilRhodes obtained mineral rights for the British throne and began the process of bringing Zimbabwehome to Great Britain. Pleased with his accomplishment the throne honored Rhodes by lending hisname to the area, now calling it Rhodesia. Headed by Rhodes the British South Africa Company(BSA) was chartered in 1889 with the responsibility of colonizing the areas of Northern andSouthern Rhodesia and bringing back to the Kingdom the vast mineralogical resources Rhodesiahad to offer . Although a colony, throughout the existence of its charter Rhodesia enjoyed self-governing andperceived autonomy. The United Kingdom reserved the right to intervene in the policies of Rhodesiaat any prompting, but this right was rarely employed leaving Rhodesia’s autonomy all but assumed.The perceived autonomy the nation enjoyed allowed for the emergence of factions interested indeveloping Rhodesia’s mineralogical and agricultural potential for the purpose of stimulatingdomestic growth only. Although growth would benefit the country as a whole, it would benefitwhites specifically by design. An apartheid-type land apportionment act passed in 1934 allotted keyresource rich areas to whites only. The perceived autonomy and racists nature of Rhodesia wouldhave great implications late in the countries political future. PoliticsBy 1960 Rhodesia was a country of two factions: the ruling white minority who wanted completeindependence from the United Kingdom and the indigenous African majority who wanted greatercontrol of their country and an end to institutional racism. On November 11, 1965 in a step to
hasten along political change white progressives announced the Unilateral Declaration ofIndependence (UDI) thereby declaring their independence from Great Britain . The Britishgovernment was not hostile to the UDI but did insist that the Rhodesian government demonstrate itsintention to move toward free and democratic majority rule. Considering the majority of Rhodesiawas African the ruling whites were diametrically opposed to any such form of majority rulegovernment and refused to meet Great Britain’s conditions of independence. On December 16, 1966 Rhodesia made history by being the first country subject to United Nationseconomic sanctions, suffering a complete embargo on key exports and imports . With a dilapidatingeconomy and African discontent with the white ruling minority Rhodesia fell into a period ofeconomic and political turmoil breeding uncertainty and general political instability. In 1974 Rhodesia’s two primary black nationalists parties combined to form a front againstRhodesia’s governing policy. Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) andJoshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) united together to form a “PatrioticFront” against the segregationist regime of Prime Minister Ian Smith . In 1976, under great political,economic, and social pressure Smith ceded to foreign and domestic demands and agreed tomajority rule in principle. Through diplomatic channels and under British auspices Rhodesia madethe transition to majority rule and on December 21, 1979 political reforms were unofficially agreedupon. As a condition of this agreement Rhodesia was granted independence from theCommonwealth, and all U.N. sanctions were lifted with a decree that Rhodesia was to beinternationally recognized as a political state . In late February, 1980 free democratic election were held in Rhodesia for the first time withMugabe’s ZANU(PF) achieving an absolute majority. Upon the victory of his party Mugabe wasasked to form the first government of the country of Zimbabwe. On April 18, 1980 the BritishGovernment formally granted independence to the former Rhodesia and four months laterZimbabwe was indoctrinated as a member of the United Nations . Zimbabwe’s political system exists to this day as democratic and majoritarian all implementedthrough a parliamentary system. Robert Mugabe remains as President and utilizes a foreign policy ofnon-alignment. Despite this Zimbabwe is a member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) andperforms primary trade with its neighboring African state South Africa. It is the period from 1980 tothe present that is most fundamental in understanding Zimbabwe’s economic system because it is inthis period that Zimbabwe’s economic structure best reveals itself. EconomicsZimbabwe’s economic structure is one of great potential. In the years prior to its independenceZimbabwe put great emphasis in developing its mining industry and as a result it is one of the mostdeveloped in Africa. The mining of such minerals as copper, nickel, gold, and metallurgical-gradeferrochromite is responsible for nearly half the countries $4.9 billion Gross Domestic Product(GDP) . The other half of Zimbabwe’s GDP is generated primarily in the agricultural sector with themajority of this produced at subsistence levels by most of the population. Zimbabwe clearly has the potential to generate agriculture beyond the subsistence level and therebyeliminate any degree of shortage. In any event subsistence would be sufficient to eliminate shortage ifnot for recent devastating droughts. Zimbabwe’s mineral export industry is key to the nations developmental success. Although small, thecountries mining industry is modernized and strategically developed toward exports. Many pavedroads link mines and other industries together that complement mining such as heavy machinery.Also, the areas within the vicinity of the mines are highly developed and urbanized to ensure anadequate and able workforce. Finally, Zimbabwe participates in non-aligned trade for non-strategicproducts such as textiles. This greatly reduces the countries chance of becoming dependent on atrade partner. ConclusionIn many ways Zimbabwe is a model for third-world economic development. Although not yet fullydeveloped Zimbabwe clearly has the potential to be a full fledged developed nation. Beyond its vastresources Zimbabwe is structured in a way to promote development. This fact in and of itselfdistinguishes Zimbabwe from most other Lesser Developed Countries (LDC). Zimbabwe’seconomic structure is one in which they are essentially self-sufficient and trade only for profit or forconsumer goods. Also they perform trade with many partners with no single partner comprisinggarnering more than 15% of import or export goods. By structuring the Zimbabwe’s economicsystem in a way that keeps its partners diversified and its imports non-strategic, Mugabe hassuccessfully led his nation to the path of development. The barriers left to full development are quiteminimal compared to the ones already dominated, The structure of Zimbabwe’s economic system istruly a model of economic development.