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International Monetary Fund

Agriculture is an important sector of the Zimbabwean economy. At independence, land ownership was highly skewed, as the sector was dominated by a few commercial farms. The initial phases of land reform, along with liberalization of the agricultural sector throughout the 1990s, helped to increase Zimbabwe’s agricultural productivity, but these gains have been reversed over the past few years. After the bumper crop season of 1999/2000, yields have plummeted, owing to droughts and the disruption of commercial farming under the Fast-Track Land Reform Program. The future of the sector is largely dependent on the success of resettled farmers, which requires better weather conditions, the availability of inputs and capital, and a stable economic environment. Preliminary data for the 2002/03 crop season indicate that, for many of Zimbabwe’s main crops, production continues to be low.

Willy H. Verheye

This paper describes the need to broaden the agenda for poverty reduction. The broadening of the agenda follows from a growing understanding that poverty is more than low income, a lack of education, and poor health. The poor are frequently powerless to influence the social and economic factors that determine their well being. The paper highlights that a broader definition of poverty requires a broader set of actions to fight it and increases the challenge of measuring poverty and comparing achievement across countries and over time.

Mr. Arne L Bigsten
This paper examines dynamic patterns of investment in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe, assessing the consistency of those patterns with different adjustment cost structures. Using survey data on manufactured firms, we document the importance of zero investment episodes and lumpy investment. The proportion of firms experiencing large investment spikes is significant in explaining aggregate manufacturing investment. Taken together, evidence from descriptive statistics, average investment regressions modeling the response to capital imbalance, and transition data analysis indicate that irreversibility is an important factor considered by firms when making investment plans. The picture is not unanimous however, and some explanations for the mixed results are proposed.