Zimbabwe has historically been one of the most robust economies in southern Africa, with substantial natural resources and a highly regarded workforce. The performance of the Zimbabwean economy will remain inextricably linked to the policy and political climate over the coming years. Zimbabwe’s government is gradually beginning to re-engage with the international development community.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments in Zimbabwe, as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. Clients also benefit from in-depth analysis on 12 of Zimbabwe’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our expert research teams. Our aim is to keep you ahead of the game, so you can do business with ease in Zimbabwe.

Country Risk

Zimbabwe Country Risk

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Core Views:

  • Growing signs of internal divisions in the ruling ZANU-PF adds to existing uncertainty over the future of politics in Zimbabwe once 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe retires or dies. Against this backdrop, a worsening economic climate will put added pressure on government stability.

  • Political and policy uncertainty will continue to deter much-needed investment into the moribund Zimbabwean economy, while a weak harvest, depreciating South African rand, and lower commodity prices will also weigh on short-term economic activity.

  • The Zimbabwean economy will remain near deflationary territory over the coming quarters thanks to weak demand, a depreciating South African rand, and lower oil prices.

Major...

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Zimbabwe Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Zimbabwe Operational Risk

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Zimbabwe's economic crisis and political isolation has contributed to a marked deterioration in the country's business environment over the last several years. In particular, businesses face a myriad of risks stemming from corruption and a large bureaucratic burden, which lowers the country's competitiveness relative to its southern African neighbours. Other salient threats include poor access to utilities, notably water and power, as well as insecure property rights for foreign businesses. Moreover, the quality of Zimbabwe's health care sector has declined considerably over the last several decades, thereby contributing to poor health outcomes within the labour force. As a result, the country receives a score of 34.6 out of 100 for Operational Risk, ranking 27th out of 48 states in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The most pressing risks for foreign businesses in Zimbabwe emanate from the combination of endemic corruption...

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Zimbabwe Crime & Security

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Zimbabwe offers a safer operating environment than most Sub-Saharan African states, as the country enjoys stable relations with its neighbours, is not a target of international terrorist groups and has comparatively low levels of violent crime. The main security risk to investors in Zimbabwe stems from the threat of political violence which tends to flare up around elections. While foreign workers and travellers are exposed to petty theft and burglaries, crime affecting businesses such as cyber and financial crime is low. As a result, Zimbabwe obtains a score of 44.9 out of 100 for Crime and Security Risk, placing the country 11th out of 48 SSA states.

The main crime and security risks in Zimbabwe stem from widespread petty crime and the police force's inability to effectively investigate and protect against crime. The lack of transparency and resources within the police force mean that crime often goes unreported and heightens...

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Zimbabwe Labour Market

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BMI View: Zimbabwe's labour market cannot compete with its regional peers owing to low levels of productivity, public health issues, and the residual effects from the economic collapse and hyperinflation during the mid-2000s. Although Zimbabwe has a favourable demographic situation, with more than 60% of the population younger than 24, the country has proved incapable of turning its population into skilled workers, and we see no sign of this situation improving over the medium term. Taking these factors into consideration, BMI awards Zimbabwe a score of 36.9 out of 100 for Labour Market Risk, placing the country 29th in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

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Zimbabwe Logistics

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BMI View: Zimbabwe has a limited and low-quality transport network. With a lack of access to maritime trade flows and the added stress placed on an ailing road and rail network, Zimbabwe's reliance on its neighbouring countries for efficient trade poses a threat to investors. Additionally, movement of goods is hampered by lengthy bureaucracy and relatively expensive trade procedures, creating additional costs for businesses. Although the country presents well in terms of its market size, due to steady economic growth following years of decline, the country is at risk from adverse affects of its current trade deficit and expensive fuel costs, compromising the success of business operations in the country.

Zimbabwe scores 33.6 out of 100 in the BMI Logistics Risk Index,...

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Zimbabwe Trade & Investment

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BMI View: The combination of endemic corruption, weak rule of law, caps on foreign investment and a lack of its own currency serve to make Zimbabwe an unattractive operating environment for foreign firms. Corruption in particular poses a major obstacle to foreign investment and participation in the economy by lowering the accountability and impartiality of the judicial system, incurring adverse consequences for important procedures such as the filing and paying of taxes, the resolution of contractual disputes and the registration of property. Intellectual property rights are also poorly enforced, raising the probability of financial losses due to copyright violations and piracy. Taking these factors into consideration, BMI awards Zimbabwe a score of 22.9 out of 100 for overall Trade and Investment Risk, placing the country 45th out...

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Zimbabwe Industry Coverage (12)

Agribusiness

Zimbabwe Agribusiness

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BMI View: We expect Zimbabwe to remain a net corn importer over the longer term. Over the next five years, we expect production of the grain to demonstrate moderate growth, although production will remain well below the totals seen in the early 2000s. We are more optimistic regarding the sugar sector, where access to key markets and potential for productivity improvements will drive production over the long term. Although we forecast a domestic sugar market surplus, the sector remains below potential and our f...

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Autos

Zimbabwe Autos

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According to Renault Group, which tracks industry sales in Zimbabwe, domestic auto sales contracted by 26.6% year-on-year (y-o-y) in May to 431 units. This brought sales for the first five months of 2015 to 2,155 units, a decline of 26.6% y-o-y.

Total domestic auto sales fell by 10.3% to 7,048 units in 2014 and we have further downgraded our 2015 sales estimate, seeing the market shrinking by 20.0% (versus our previous forecast for a contraction of 15.0%).

One major headwind we see for sales over the next few years is the increase in duties on car imports in June 2015 as well as in late 2014. While we believe this move is also influenced by the government's intention to develop the local auto sector, we have previously voiced our view that the local production industry has too many flawed fundamentals to support the demand created by such protectionist policies.

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Commercial Banking

Zimbabwe Commercial Banking

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Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

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Food & Drink

Zimbabwe Food & Drink

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BMI View : The Zimbabwean economy will remain near deflationary territory over the coming quarters thanks to weak demand, a depreciating South African rand and low oil prices. The Zimbabwean economy continues to flirt with deflationary territory with the latest data showing that inflation was 0.1% year-on-year in September 2014. Underpinning low price growth is subdued domestic demand, a weak South African rand relative to the US dollar and the decline in international oil prices witnessed over recent months. There is little reason to believe that any of these factors will meaningfully reverse over the coming months and we therefore think that annual inflation will remain at around zero into 2015.

Key Industry Trends

Nestlé Zimbabwe Expansion: The world's largest producer of...

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Infrastructure

Zimbabwe Infrastructure

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BMI View: The country's construction industry remains high risk, poorly financed and subject to the unattractive investment policies of President Robert Mugabe, with average annual real growth between 2015-2024 expected to be a mediocre 2.6%. Zimbabwe is keen to encourage foreign investment, with China so far leading any inroads into the country's power and mining sectors. However, even Chinese investment is lower than expected and Mugabe's rhetoric strongly points to continued restraints on foreign investment.

Zimbabwe holds potential as a frontier growth market in Southern Africa, but it is highly unlikely to meet that potential under current conditions - namely the policies enacted by President Robert Mugabe and his regime, which make it risky for foreign investors to gain access to the market. The mining sector, which is...

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Insurance

Zimbabwe Insurance

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BMI View: We have a positive outlook for Zimbabwe's life and non-life insurance segments, with double-digit growth rates through most of our five-year forecast. Life insurance will continue to dominate the insurance sector and outpace non-life insurance in terms of annual growth, given its attractiveness as a long-term savings option. However, as Old Mutual continues to dominate the life market with a market share of over 50%, the market will lack competitiveness and potentially see a slower rate of development in terms of the products that are offered.

As we have a positive outlook for both major segments, retention ratios are high and claims ratios are low, we remain optimistic of the ongoing development of Zimbabwe's insurance sector. There are, however, also several persistent issues...

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Mining

Zimbabwe Mining

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BMI View: Zimbabwe's mining industry will achieve steady growth in absolute terms over our forecast period through to 2019 as production increases across the key platinum and diamond mining sub-sectors. However, we note a number of potential downside risks on the horizon, including falling mineral prices and an uncertain political and regulatory climate. Zimbabwe is richly endowed with deposits of chrome, gold, nickel, diamonds and platinum, among other minerals. Its gold reserves are among the largest in Africa, while it has the world's second-largest platinum reserves. Diamond reserves are measured to be the second-largest globally after Russia. Development in these key markets together with a gradual more stable political and economic climate has seen the country's status as a major global producers strengthen in recent...

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Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Zimbabwe Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

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BMI View: Our outlook of modest growth for Zimbabwe's pharmaceutical sector should be treated with caution as poor monitoring and recording practices along with the country's reliance on aid from various sources make market figures unreliable. Pharmaceutical spending will be driven mainly by imported medicines with demand owing to a high communicable-disease burden. However, low purchasing power, a declining economy and ongoing political tensions pose high risk and uncertainty for the market, deterring multinational drugmakers.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: USD361mn in 2014 to USD380mn in 2015; +5.2% in US dollar terms. ...

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Power

Zimbabwe Power

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BMI View: The outlook for Zimbabwe's power sector is moderate but market opportunities for private investors are limited. On the upside, a number of major projects will boost generation to 12.5TWh by 2024 up from 8.2TWh in 2015, mainly by exploiting coal and hydropower. This will be underpinned by a steady rise in demand for electricity, from 7.2TWh to 9.8TWh over the same timeframe, as the economy and population grows. However, the operating environment will remain extremely challenging.

A major...

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Telecommunications

Zimbabwe Telecommunications

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BMI View: The implementation of SIM registration regulations put a dent in mobile market growth in both Zambia and Zimbabwe's markets in 2014. Zambia's market has bounced back impressively as operators apply tower sharing strategies and the government takes a proactive approach to extending network coverage in rural areas. With reduced tariffs and a weak economic environment adding further challenges for Zimbabwean operators, BMI believes all players stand to gain from the regulator's plans to force telecoms infrastructure sharing in the country.

Key data

  • Zambia's mobile market grew by 7.1% q-o-q and 17.8% y-o-y in Q115, making a strong recovery from the SIM registration process in 2013, and bringing subscriptions to 10.838mn for a penetration rate of 69.8%.

  • Zimbabwe...

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Zimbabwe Telecommunications

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BMI View : BMI's Q315 Southern Africa report analyses the latest industry, regulatory and macroeconomic developments in the telecoms markets in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Mauritius and Namibia. It also contains our estimate of the market data relating to the end of 2014 and an update of our five-year forecasts to 2019 for the mobile, fixed-line and internet sectors. From the five states...

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Tourism

Zimbabwe Tourism

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BMI View : Zimbabwe's tourism sector is expected to see steady growth over the forecast period. As the government attempts to move the country out of economic trouble, it has recognised the importance and future potential of the tourism market and plans to establish better transport infrastructure and international travel links. Inbound and outbound tourism are set to rise steadily; however, the sector faces a number of challenges. The restrictions on foreign ownership in the country continues to deter potentially lucrative foreign investors and a newly introduced 15% tax on tourist accommodation may make potential tourists look for alternative...

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Latest Zimbabwe Articles

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