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MEDIA NOTE: Civil unrest in Zimbabwe reflects failure of economic reforms - ODI statement and expert available for interview

Written by Judith Tyson

Escalating violence in Zimbabwe, triggered by a doubling of fuel prices, reflects the inability of the government to tackle acute economic problems, an ODI expert has warned.

Judith Tyson, Research Fellow with the International Economic Development Group at ODI, has said problems such as the failed bond notes, which led to the petrol price hikes, as well as limited traction on tackling the fiscal deficit and the international debt arrears have contributed to the current unrest.

Dr Tyson said: ‘The appointment of Mthuli Ncube as finance minister was a positive sign that President Mnangagwa was serious about economic reforms but to date he has struggled to tackle the complete lack of public confidence in the bond notes or to get government spending under control.

‘This will need new finance for Zimbabwe. However, South Africa refused to lend emergency funds late last year and the World Bank and IMF continue to refuse new finance. While some governments, including the UK, have been trying to promote debt forgiveness or restructuring, no finance has been provided.

‘The international community needs to do more to help Zimbabwe out of its ‘Catch-22’ situation whereby it can't deliver the desperately needed economic reforms without new finance. Zimbabwe needs new loans to support reforms and economic change before it becomes a failed state.’

For more information or to arrange an interview with Judith Tyson please contact James Rush on [email protected] or +44 (0)7808 791265