HARARE, Dec 29– Structural reforms remain the most fundamental impediment to the Zimbabwe government’s drive to restore macro-economic stability and boost economic growth, an expert says.

Nathan Associates director Rafael Enríquez, whose consulting firm the government has contracted to manage the Strategic Economic Research and Analysis Programme (SERA), says political will has already been shown and significant progress has been made but more structural reforms are still required.

“Since 2009, the Zimbabwe government has been working to restore macro-economic stability and boost economic growth,” he said. “The government has made significant progress, but numerous structural reforms are still needed to increase growth and encourage trade, investment, and job creation.”

The SERA is meant to improve the economic environment for inclusive growth in Zimbabwe by building capacity for evidence-based policy analysis, strengthening the capacity of policy development institutions and improving economic data for use by researchers and other stakeholders.

The programme was launched in 2011 and ends next year.

“In an endeavour to achieve the stated reforms, we are managing SERA with the aim to achieve results in improved capacity for evidence-based analysis of economic policy and for policy management and improved
capacity in government to analyze, adapt, and implement evidence-based options for economic policy” said Enríquez.

Absence of improved quality, timeliness, and availability of economic data and statistics are some features of government bureaucracy that have been cited as needing correction.

The government has thus engaged the firm to offer technical assistance to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), and the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (ZEPARU).

Technical assistance to ZEPARU includes research and analysis, training of economists and Parliamentarians, as well as research dissemination and policy workshops.

The government had previously used reommendations from such consulting companies to craft legislation, especially in mining.