Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mugabe-cide Economics

Some things in life you just can't buy. Like inflation statistics in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's chief statistician has said it is impossible to work out the country's latest inflation rate because of the lack of goods in shops.
"There are too many data gaps," the Central Statistical Office's Moffat Nyoni told state media.

Many staple goods are often absent from shop shelves after the government ordered prices to be halved or frozen in a bid to stem galloping inflation.

September's inflation rate was put at almost 8,000%, the world's highest.

Other reports suggest the rate could be at near 15,000% and the International Monetary Fund had warned it could reach 100,000% by the end of the year.
Mugabe-cide economics would be funny if it wasn't so sad. From an earlier BBC report:
People are starving. The evidence is in the hospitals where tiny, wizened babies lie dying in their cots while their mothers look on helplessly.

One mother cradles a child who is losing her hair and her skin, a sign of the most advanced form of Kwashiorkor or vitamin deficiency.

It is certainly the first time I have seen this condition in 20 years of reporting on the developing world.

"Zimbabwe once offered the most comprehensive medical service in Africa," a doctor explains. "It is now becoming a textbook case of medical horror."

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