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Cablegate: Goz Fantasy Stats

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 000984

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/S
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
USDOC FOR AMANDA HILLIGAS
TREASURY FOR OREN WYCHE-SHAW
PASS USTR FLORIZELLE LISER
STATE PASS USAID FOR MARJORIE COPSON

E. O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID BTIO EINV ECON PGOV ZI
SUBJECT: GOZ FANTASY STATS


1. (SBU) Summary: The June 10 edition of the
GOZ-controlled Herald reports that exports increased in
2003 over 2002 despite all signs to the contrary. End
summary.

2. (SBU) Zimbabwe Central Statistics Office (CSO)
reports that Zimbabwe exports rose in 2003 to hit $2.3
trillion, or over 20 times the 2002 figure of $110.7
billion (unadjusted for two years of hyper inflation)
This, despite the tax on exporters through having to give
25% of their forex earnings at the official rate of Z$824
to US$1 rather than the most recent auction rate-
Z$5349.85 to US$1. In addition, according to U.S. and
European import statistics, Zimbabwe experienced a
dramatic 40+ percent drop in exports to the U.S. and EU
from 2002 to 2003. The article also claims $1.5 trillion
export earnings in the first four months of 2004. At the
same time, the Herald reports that tobacco exports
(formerly Zimbabwe's single largest export crop) are
down.

3. (SBU) The Herald announced that the Zimbabwe
Tourist Authority is planning Chinese language classes
and has hired Chinese translators for the tourism
industry. This follows the GOZ professed expectation that
Chinese tourists to Zimbabwe will increase and offset the
sharp decline in Western tourist arrivals since the
beginning of fast track land reform.

4. (SBU) Comment: GOZ is manipulating data from the
once respected CSO. The export statistics are unadjusted
for inflation and touted as a sign of economic recovery.
Yet, with two years of hyperinflation in the high triple
digits, the figures actually represent a slow down in
exports. In fact, tobacco production is now back to 1952
levels and cotton will, for the first time anyone can
remember, overtake tobacco as the country's number one
export crop this year.

5. (SBU) Comment cont'd: GOZ media assertions on
trade are just the latest prop in Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo's Potemkin Zimbabwe. Fantastical claims in
recent months include increases in tourist arrivals in
2003 over 2002 and that Zimbabwe accounts for over 40% of
SADC tourism. Most tourist sites are empty and SADC also
offers South Africa and Mauritius- both very popular
destinations for Europeans and others.

6. (SBU) Comment cont'd: GOZ hopes to dampen public
dismay over the economic free fall and economic implosion
over the past four years. Zanu-PF wishes to re-shape its
image and prove that land reform has been successful in
the run up to parliamentary elections currently scheduled
for March 2005. Although the glowing portrayals are
unlikely to stem the despair of most Zimbabweans, there
is no sign that Zanu-PF is ready to gear-down its "good
news everywhere" propaganda machine.

Whitehead

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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