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Chart of the week: the ruin wreaked by Mugabe

In 1980, Zimbabwe was among the top ten sub-Saharan African economies. Between 2000 and 2008, however, GDP halved. Now, inflation-adjusted per-capita incomes remain 15% below the 1980 figure.

873_COTW

Robert Mugabe is reportedly about to receive a $10m payoff as a reward for ruining his country. In 1980, Zimbabwe was among the top ten sub-Saharan African economies. It was relatively diversified and its healthy agricultural sector made it the bread-basket of southern Africa. Between 2000 and 2008, however, thanks to farm seizures, rampant corruption, hyperinflation and rapid emigration, GDP halved. A gradual recovery over the past ten years has barely returned the economy to late-1990s levels. Inflation-adjusted per-capita incomes are still 15% below the 1980 figure.

Viewpoint

"Productivity is a measurement of output per employee hour, and in this France leaves the UK trailing. This is probably an effect of France's employment laws: it is much more expensive there than here for firms both to take on and to fire employees, so its businesses invest more in machinery that replaces workers. Yet, also at least in part because of its labour laws, France has a significantly higher percentage of unemployed than the UK. And as by definition they don't work, they are not part of the productivity statistics. [This means that] France, in its output per person of working age, is probably not ahead of the UK at all."

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Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times

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