This paper discusses the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) for Zimbabwe and highlights that the new government that assumed office following the July 2018 elections is committed to addressing the macroeconomic imbalances, removing structural distortions to facilitate a resumption in growth, and to re-engaging with the international community including by clearing its external arrears. The SMP will be monitored on a quarterly basis and is intended to assist the authorities in building a track record of implementation of a coherent set of economic and social policies that can facilitate a return to macroeconomic stability and assist in reengagement with the international community. With limited access to external financing and the very low level of international reserves, the authorities’ room for manoeuvre is very narrow. There are also significant implementation risks of the monetary and exchange rate reforms, as well as addressing governance and corruption weaknesses, which could adversely impact the attainment of SMP objectives.
The macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen. Growth is expected to increase from 2.7 percent in 2017 to 3.1 percent in 2018, reflecting domestic policy adjustments and a supportive external environment, including continued steady growth in the global economy, higher commodity prices, and accommodative external financing conditions. Inflation is abating; and fiscal imbalances are being contained in many countries. Over the medium term, and on current policies, growth is expected to accelerate to about 4 percent, too low to create the number of jobs needed to absorb anticipated new entrants into labor markets.