By Simplicius Chirinda
Harare, January 15, 2014 – It’s no wonder why Zimbabwe’s economy is not performing well – it’s one of the world’s most unfree at least according to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.
The top survey released recently is published annually by the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal. It is used by big investors around the world to make decisions on whether to invest in a particular country.
The index ranks Zimbabwe – currently reeling from an economic crisis following a disputed election in July 2013 that retained Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe as the country’s leader into power for the next five years- alongside pariah states and troubled countries such as North Korea and Cuba.
Hong Kong was adjudged to be the world’s freest economy followed by high-tech state-city Singapore.
Analysts have blamed the Zanu PF government’s populist policies for the poor performance of the country’s economy which has been in free-fall over the last two decades.
“Hong Kong’s overall score is slightly better than last year due to improvements in government size and regulatory efficiency that offset a decline in freedom from corruption,” the Heritage Foundation said on its website.
“A high degree of market openness, as measured by trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom, has been complemented by a transparent regulatory environment and competitive tax regime.”
Zimbabwe, which in 2009 adopted the use of multiple foreign currencies after the collapse of its currency has adopted an empowerment and indigenisation law that seeks to transfer majority ownership of all foreign companies to local Zimbabweans. The law has been seen as one of the greatest threats to any hopes of economic recovery.
It is not only on the economic front that Zimbabwe has been hogging the limelight. Yet another index released Tuesday has cited Zimbabwe as one of the most expensive countries to dine.
Oxfam’s Food Index – the Good Enough to Eat index released for the first time yesterday said Zimbabwe faces the world’s greatest food price volatility inflation alongside the most expensive country in Africa – Angola.
The index looks at four core concerns for consumers around the world – do people have enough to eat? – Measured by levels of undernourishment and underweight children, can people afford to eat?
Measured by food price levels compared to other goods and services and food price volatility, is food of good quality? –Measured by diet diversification and access to clean and safe water and what are the health outcomes of people’s diet?
The Good Enough to Eat index compares data from 125 countries to create a global snapshot of the different challenges people face in getting the food they need to eat.
The Netherlands, France and Switzerland were adjudged as the best places to eat while Chad, Angola and Ethiopia are the worst. Zimbabwe came out among the worst when it comes to the cost of buying food, making it one of the most horrible places to eat food.