The war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on Southern Africa. As our incompetent ministers in Zimbabwe like to remind us it is not just Zimbabwe that is suffering. That is partly true as recently revealed by the latest inflation figures from South Africa. The country recently recorded a spike in inflation which rose from 5.9% in April to 6.5% in May, the worst inflation figures in five years. Hold your horses though as South Africa’s annual inflation is well above our inflation!

There is no comparison with the mess that is Zimbabwe

As already said, Zimbabwe’s authorities take sadistic pleasure in rubbing our noses into the fact that Zimbabwe is not the only country affected. They will probably twist the latest figures from South Africa as proof that the woes we see in Zimbabwe are not a result of their incompetence and corruption but rather a result of imported inflation brought about by COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and sanctions. It is usual it’s anyone else’s fault and not my argument they like to peddle. So are they right?

No there are not. While most countries in South Africa have experienced price shocks brought on by the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 Zimbabwe’s woes are well above and beyond what others have experienced. In fact, the effect of the war in Ukraine for example, have been amplified by government incompetence when it comes to mitigating them. For example, the government which charges a fortune in excise duty on fuel was happy to continue collecting even though the country has the most expensive fuel in the region. Never mind that our local industry is already suffering.

To prove our point Zimbabwe’s monthly inflation in April was 21% which is much higher than South Africa’s annual inflation of 6.5%. What it means is that Zimbabwean prices rise more in a month than South African prices in an entire year. The fact that South Africa’s authorities are in full panic mode as they try to find a solution to their crisis is telling though. In Zimbabwe the Finance Minister likes to pretend there is no crisis despite all this. In case you are tempted to make an comparisons here are some of the latest inflation figures from our neighbouring SADC countries:

  • Angola has an annual inflation rate of 24.42% down from April 25.79%. Yes, their inflation rate fell.
  • Botswana’s CPI was 11.9% up from 9.6%
  • Lesotho 7.3% up from 7.3%
  • Malawi 19.1% from 15.7%
  • Mozambique 9.3% up from 7.9%
  • Zambia 10.2% down from 11.5%

The short of it is that Zimbabwe’s government especially the Finance Minister have not been doing a good job of shielding the economy from the war or all the other negative factors such as the drought. Others have done a better job which is a damning condemnation our the economic authorities in Zimbabwe. It is shameful that even with all the hardships the ordinary people of Zimbabwe are experiencing they are content to pretend that there is nothing wrong with our economy and continue to harp about “economic fundamentals” as if it means something.

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