NewsSouthern AfricaZimbabwe could miss 6.4 pct growth target for 2014


Posted on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 08:43

Zimbabwe could miss 6.4 pct growth target for 2014

Zimbabwe's finance minister Patrick Chinamasa. Photo©ReutersZimbabwe could miss its 6.4 percent growth target this year but the final number will not be as low as some international lenders have predicted, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Monday.

The World Bank has downgraded the southern African country's growth to 3 percent this year.

The International Monetary Fund says the economy is fragile and sees growth of 4 percent.

So, for now I want to remain, should I say, neutral


The finance minister had premised his 2014 growth forecast on a recovery in agriculture and a strong performance in mining.

Chinamasa told a parliamentary committee on finance that agriculture, which was expected to grow 9 percent, had performed "reasonably" well after output of the staple maize, tobacco and sugar surpassed targets.

Mining in a country with the world's second largest reserves of platinum had been hobbled by weak metal prices during the first half of the year, and a number of new mining ventures that were expected had not taken off, Chinamasa said.

"So, for now I want to remain, should I say, neutral. Maybe not six point something percent (growth), but not as low as is being put out," Chinamasa said in response to an MP's question.

Zimbabwe's 2014 harvest for maize rose 82 percent to 1.46 million tonnes, enough to meet annual domestic needs for the first time since 2003, a government report showed.

Agriculture is critical for the livelihood of a majority of Zimbabweans, since 80 percent of the working-age population do not hold a formal job.

Chinamasa said only 500,000 people in the country were in formal employment.

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