In an interview that was released last week, a Western reporter had the rare fortune to interview Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe. While defending his country and his record he said something along the line of “Aside from South Africa, name me one African country that is better off economically than Zimbabwe?” Sadly, but for reasons I understand, the reporter didn’t take the bait. So I will do so here, if only to point out that Zimbabwe is about on par with Somalia in terms of livable countries and is a rat hole. (Data from CIA World Factbook, 2008)
Stats are in the order of: GDP Real Growth Rate (RGR), GDP Per Capita (PPP), Unemployment (UE), Poverty (P), Life Expectancy (LE), and AIDS Prevalence (AIDS)- Bold indicates significant stats.
Zimbabwe– RGR: -6%, PPP: $500, UE: 80%, P: 68%, LE: 39.5 yrs, AIDS: 24.6%
Botswana– RGR: 4.7%, PPP: $14,700, UE: 23.8%, P: 30.3%, LE: 50.5 yrs, AIDS: 37.3%
Zambia– RGR: 6%, PPP: $1,400, UE: 50%, P: 86%, LE: 38.44 yrs, AIDS: 16.5%
Namibia– RGR: 4.5%, PPP: $5,200, UE: 5.3% (is that right?), P: NA, LE: 43.11 yrs, AIDS: 21.3%
Mozambique– RGR: 7.5% PPP: $900, UE: 21%, P: 70%, LE: 40.9 yrs, AIDS:12.2%
Rwanda– RGR: 6%, PPP: $1,000, UE: NA, P: 60%, LE: 48.99, AIDS: 12.2%
Looking at this data, it can be difficult to separate Zimbabwe from some of their neighbors, however the most telling statistic is Zimbabwe’s -6% growth rate for 2007, while all of her immediate neighbors are growing at at least 4.5 % annually. Additionally, one statistic that is not included above due to its lack of inclusion in the World Factbook is inflation rate. Zimbabwe currently has the worlds highest inflation, upwards of 100,000%. (Note, I included Rwanda in list above to show a country that was in the midst of Genocide just about 10 years ago to demonstrate how some are rising, while Zimbabwe is falling).
The Factbook also ranks countries based on various stats, let’s look at how some African Countries rate on the economic indicators above: (Where the country stands in World Rankings is the number given)
GDP Real Growth Rate
Best in Africa: Angola – #4
Worst in Africa: Zimbabwe (Only Gaza and the West Bank are worse in the World)
GDP Per Capita
Best in Africa: Equitorial Guinea- #12 ($44,100, Gotta love that Oil!)
Zimbabwe: #229 (2nd to last in the World)
Worst in Africa: Congo, Democratic Republic of, #230
Best in Africa: Namibia, #63
Zimbabwe: #197 (3rd from last in the world)
Worst in Africa: Liberia, #198
So, Mr. Mugabe, it is pretty clear that you have completely destroyed your country over the last ten years. A country that was once the bread basket of Africa is now worse than Somalia and Sudan on nearly every level. What a mightly fall Zimbabwe has taken.
Robert Mugabe is among the worst people in the world, yet he refuses to recognize his own ineptitude and the realities that his country faces. Right next door in Botswana is Africa’s new shining star. They certainly have their own issues, like dealing with AIDS, but they are improving. Mugabe and the rest of Africa would do well to look at the Botswana model and apply it themselves.