April 19, 2012
Getting Zimbabwe (and Africa) Back on Track

The Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center hosted a discussion with the Right Honourable Tendai Biti, MP, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Secretary-General of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on the progress of the country’s economic recovery and moving out of its current political impasse. He also drew out lessons applicable to other African countries “in permanent crisis.”

A lawyer by profession, over the years Biti has been repeatedly jailed for his political activity as well as his work on behalf of human rights organizations and independent labor unions, including during the 2008 election crackdown when he was charged with “treason, communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State, insulting President Mugabe and causing disaffection among the defense forces” and bail was set at one trillion Zimbabwean dollars. Domestic and international pressure, however, forced President Robert Mugabe to accept a power-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and, in February 2009, Biti was sworn in as Minister of Finance in the country’s “inclusive government.” During his tenure, he tamed Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, which peaked at a monthly rate of an estimated 79.6 billion percent. Currently inflation is about 4 percent per annum and the economy is expected to grow some 9 percent this year.

The minister’s presentation was followed by a discussion moderated by Ansari Center director J. Peter Pham.

AUDIO (.mp3)

VIDEO

 

MEDIA MENTIONS