Shifting of policies on land reform and food subsidies by successive governments have contributed to the rampant poverty situation in the country.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded the late Robert Mugabe after a military intervention forced the longtime president to resign, has struggled to revive the economy.

The government in Harare is always accusing sanctions for impeding economic growth and “hurting ordinary Zimbabweans”, a claim which the US embassy refutes.

Analysts say years of shifting policies on land reform and food subsidies under Mugabe and Mnangagwa are also partly to blame for Zimbabwe’s situation.

The country’s agro-based economy began to collapse following the state’s violent seizure in the 2000s of an estimated 10 million hectares (25 million acres) for redistribution from white commercial farmers to resettle the landless black majority.

Mugabe’s government over the years resorted to price controls and money printing to tackle skyrocketing inflation and food shortages, but the measures impoverished local state-owned agricultural companies and contributed to the collapse of the local currency in 2009.

Since 1980, when Zimbabwe gained its independence, its economy has primarily depended on its mining and agricultural industries.

Zimbabwe’s mining industry has immense potential as the country is home to the Great Dyke, the second-largest platinum deposit globally.

Additionally, Zimbabwe is home to more than 4 000 gold deposits.

While illegal gold mining hurts the industry, Zimbabwe’s lax mining licensing laws also allow foreign companies to mine minerals at cheap costs for years on end, leading to a lack of incentive to accelerate mineral production.

Revenue is also lost as gold is lost through smuggling due to porus boaders, lax laws and corruption.

The country’s mining sector is inefficient, its gold output dropped 30% in the first quarter of 2021.

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

Many people living in the the developed countries such as United States and Britain are familiar with social welfare programs that people can access if they need healthcare or food assistance.

However, those residing in the developing and underdeveloped countries usually their governments can afford to provide this type of help to its citizens and without that safety net, there’s nothing to stop vulnerable families from backsliding further into extreme poverty.

Ineffective governments contribute to several of the other causes of extreme poverty, as they are unable to provide necessary infrastructure or healthcare, or ensure the safety and security of their citizens in the event of conflict.

Normally this ineffectiveness is caused by looting, corruption, nepotism among other facts.

Zimbabwe is endored with naturally resources but they are failing to positively turn the fortunes of the country.

LACK OF JOBS OR LIVELIHOODS

About 95% of Zimbabweans are unemployed.

Most of them are involved in illegal vending and temporary menial jobs.

Without a source of job or a livelihood, people normally face poverty.

Dwindling access to productive land (often due to conflict, overpopulation, or climate change) and overexploitation of resources like fish or minerals puts increasing pressure on many traditional livelihoods and often cause scarcity.

LACK OF RESERVES

Large portion of the population lack reserves.

Risk factors from conflict to climate change or even a family illness, can be weathered if a family or community has reserves in place.

Cash savings and loans can offset unemployment due to conflict or illness.

Proper food storage systems can help if a drought or natural disaster ruins a harvest.

People living in extreme poverty usually don’t have these means available.

This means that, when a risk turns into a disaster, they turn to negative coping mechanisms, including pulling children out of school to work or even marrying them, and selling off assets to buy food.

That can help a family make it through one bad season, but not another.

For communities constantly facing climate extremes or prolonged conflict, the repeated shocks can send a family reeling into extreme poverty and prevent them from ever recovering

How can the country reduce Poverty

The key to reducing poverty in Zimbabwe is stimulating the country’s agricultural industry. Nearly 66% of Zimbabweans rely on their small farms for survival.

However, great inequality in water access exists between the country’s many small farms and few large commercial farms.

Equality in water access would increase productivity and income for small farmers.

A revitalization of the agricultural sector would spur economic growth and alleviate poverty in Zimbabwe.

Although the country still has barriers to conquer to truly eradicate poverty, it also has immense potential to become an African superpower.

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