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Uncovering Zimbabwe’s debt

By December 1992 6 million of Zimbabwe’s 10 million population were registered for drought relief. Once again loans were given to help Zimbabwe deal with the impacts of the drought. The country really required grants – or a moratorium on debt repayments – to deal with the emergency. In their absence, the debt created by the drought loans meant the impact of the natural disaster continued years later with the debt repayments required on vital emergency ‘aid’. Following the drought recovery was slow, and there was no sign of the accelerated growth promised by the World Bank. Between 1991 and 1997 economic growth averaged 2.9 per cent, well below the rate in the ‘disappointing’ 1980s.68 Naiman and Watkins summarise that in the case of Zimbabwe “economic crisis actually followed rather than preceded the implementation of structural adjustment”.69 Yet in 1995 the World Bank’s evaluation of its first structural adjustment loan was that, whilst the drought had constrained the programme, in general it had “progressed well”. 70

Graph 7.

Relative size of Zimbabwe’s economy, 1980-200071

Relative size of economy (1980=100)







1980 81 82 83 84 85

86 87 88 89

90 91 92

93 94 95 96 97 98 99 2000



Uncovering Zimbabwe's Debt  

Uncovering Zimbabwe's Debt

Uncovering Zimbabwe's Debt  

Uncovering Zimbabwe's Debt