Zimbabwe’s economy will grow by 4.2% this year, well short of the government’s more upbeat projection as weaker global metal prices weigh on expansion, the World Bank says. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said last month the economy was expected to grow by 6.4% in 2014 up from 3.4% last year, buoyed by mining, agriculture and construction.
The World Bank’s senior country economist for Zimbabwe, Nadia Piffaretti, however told a forum in Harare that mining could be hit by softening metal prices and subdued investment. “Amidst uncertainty around mineral prices and recovery in the agricultural sector, the baseline projections forecast economic growth at 4.2% in 2014,” she said. Agriculture is critical for the livelihood of a majority of Zimbabweans, since 80% of the working-age population do not hold a formal job.
A million people in rural Zimbabwe benefiting from United Nations World Food Programme aid are also facing hunger as a lack of funding has caused deep cuts in assistance. Piffaretti said 46% of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people now ran an informal business. This would likely include those hawking everything from mobile phone recharge cards to vegetables on the streets.