With the 2018 Zimbabwe harmonised elections out of the way, rebuilding a struggling economy was the first and possibly the most difficult task for the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa. The appointment of ex-bankers Professor Mthuli Ncube and George Guvamatanga as Finance Minister and Permanent Secretary in the Finance and Economic Development Ministry was met with optimism and excitement by the larger populace of Zimbabwe.

To kick-start economic recovery, the Finance Minister launched an economic blueprint dubbed Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), set to run from October 2018 to December 2020. The programmes’ main focus was to stabilise the macro economy and financial sector, to introduce policy and institutional reforms, to address infrastructure gaps and to launch quick wins to stimulate growth.

The International Financial Institutions, which include the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank endorsed the TSP, whilst reiterating the need to have a thoughtful implementation of measures outlined in it.

The International Monetary Fund further adjusted the economic growth forecast to 3.6% from the 2.4% earlier projected in the beginning of the year. This however was contrary to a government adjustment of the same metric to 6.3% from 4.5% mentioned earlier in spite of the economy showing a number of visible challenges.

The biggest challenge the economy was facing was foreign currency shortages, a high budget and current account deficit, inflation pressures and infrastructure deficiencies.

As a measure to deal with the monetary and foreign currency challenges, the governor of Zimbabwe’s central bank the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mangudya, in his mid-term monetary statement announced that Zimbabwe was going to bring into effect again foreign currency accounts above the normal accounts. This move he said, was meant to increase hard cash deposits, to get rid parallel currency markets and to stabilize prices. Although the move saw people disposing off the local bond notes through hording of basic commodities, it led to a rise in prices of most essential consumer goods. The rise in prices of commodities however was caused by the adjusting of the economy to new policies according to the finance minister.

In an unorthodox approach, Finance Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube added to the monetary statement with controversial fiscal reforms which the president of Zimbabwe said were a “necessary pain”. Perhaps the most debated part of the reform was the introduction of a 2 cents per every dollar tax on every electronic money transfer which was introduced in order to restore fiscal equilibrium. Some economist have categorised the tax as a quick win under the TSP. Others have also mentioned that the tax would increase the collection base of the Government in the informal sector.

The question everyone would want answered in this uncertain period, is what’s next for the economy of Zimbabwe? My answer would be even in our uncertain periods we have always risen above and created opportunities, a good example would be arguably the use of digital banking as a necessity more than a want.