IMF lifts Zimbabwe’s 2023 growth forecast, sees slower recovery for Africa

(Photo by Jekesai Njikizana / AFP)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Zimbabwe’s economy to grow by 4.1% this year, growing faster than the 2.5% that it had projected in April.

In its World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday, the IMF says the Zimbabwe economy grew by 6.2% in 2022, which is higher than its previous estimate of 3% for last year. The economy expanded by 8.5% in 2021, according to the IMF, matching government numbers for that year.

The IMF’s revised forecast for 2023 is still lower than the government’s more optimistic projection of 5.3% for this year.

“This growth is on account of better performance by agriculture, mining, ICT and tourism, supported by expected improvements in electricity generation in the second half of the year,” the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said in August.

A new report released Monday by Zimstat said the economy recovered by 1.5% in the second quarter of the year, after slumping by 10.1% in the first three months of the year. Zimstat attributed the recovery to better power supply, improved agriculture output and more production of minerals, the economy’s mainstay. However, the Chamber of Mines has warned that a drop in global metal prices and rising local costs may hurt mineral earnings this year.

The IMF sees inflation remaining high in Zimbabwe at 314% this year.

Checking on the neighbours

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to slow to 3.3% this year from 4% last year, before rebounding to 4% in 2024, the IMF says.

The IMF says the South African economy grew by 1.9% in 2022 and will see 0.9% growth this year. Zambia grew by 4.7% last year, and will grow by 4.1% in 2023. Botswana, one of the bright spots in the region, was up 6.3% in 2022, and growth for 2023 is forecast at 5.5%.

Other forecasts in SADC: Malawi (0.8% in 2022; forecast 1.7% in 2023), Namibia (4.6% in 2022; forecast 2.8% in 2023), Mozambique (4.2% in 2022; forecast 7% in 2023), Tanzania (4.7% in 2022; forecast 5.2% in 2023).