In 8 years time, Zimbabwean annual income per citizen should be over US$5000. Are we making progress?

Leonard Sengere Avatar

They say you can’t succeed without vision and you can’t realise your vision without goals. The Zimbabwean govt has a vision and it has goals. The dream is for Zimbabwe to be an upper middle income economy by 2030. The vision is thus aptly named ‘Vision 2030.’ 

Of course, the govt knows that to say ‘upper middle income economy’ doesn’t mean much to most. After all, the World Bank says countries with a gross national income per capita between $4046 and $12535 are all upper middle income economies. That’s quite the broad range. 

So the Zim govt clarified that the gross national income per capita should be at least US$5000 by 2030. That is the main goal. So we are targeting the lower end of the upper middle income range. It’s a noble goal. Let’s talk about that.

The gross national income (GNI)

Some may not be as familiar with GNI as they are with it’s cousin, GDP. If you know what GDP represents it’s then easy to understand what GNI is. 

You’ll remember that GDP represents the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a given period of time. To get the GNI:

i. The income earned by Zimbabweans living in Zimbabwe but earning income from abroad is added. Income earned by people like remote worker Gwinyai Nyatsoka who is CTO of a US firm whilst resident in Zim does not appear in GDP but is added in to make GNI. We then subtract income earned in Zimbabwe by foreigners.

ii. The rentals, dividends, interest and other property income received by resident Zimbabweans from abroad are added. Whilst the same earned in Zimbabwe by foreigners is subtracted.

iii. We then subtract subsidies on production or imports. The thinking being that a subsidy is payment by a govt to promote production or reduce the producer’s losses. It is really not income they earned, hence the subtraction.


The interesting bit is the subsidy situation in Zimbabwe. We all know about the command agriculture programme through which over US$3 billion was distributed from 2017 onwards. The programme was a huge flop and failed to revive agriculture as was planned. Yet, through the years, the command agric subsidies accounted for around 5.5% of the GDP. Subtracting these subsidies from GDP makes the GNI more useful.

In 2021, subsidies were responsible for about 1.3% of all expenditure up to September. We expect that to rise to 2.5% by the close of the year. In the 2022 budget, we expect 4.9% to go to subsidies. Removing all these transport (ZUPCO), agric subsidies, etc will leave us with a more representative figure of real economic output.

GNI per capita

Simple, here we divide the GNI by the population to get each person’s share of the nation’s gross income.

Now that it’s clear what GNI is, it’s up to you to determine how useful it is as an indicator. Of course, it does not show who is earning the income and so we could have a few companies responsible for almost all of that GDP which determines the GNI.

What is our current GNI per capita?

In 2020 our GNI per capita was US$1090. That means we are a lower middle income economy according to the World Bank. However, we are at the very low end of that range because:

  • Low income economy – less than $1045
  • Lower middle income economy – $1046 – $4045
  • Upper middle income economy – $4046 – $12535

What this means is that the value of the stuff produced, and income from abroad earned by the average Zimbabwean in a year is $1090. That means what a Zimbo produces/earns from abroad per month is around $87. This is low, guys. The World Bank may call this middle income but let’s be honest, it’s way too low. 

How have we done in the past?

Zimbabwe reached the lowest point, our rock bottom, back in 2008 when it was $330. We dollarised in 2009 and the GNI per capita grew every single year to a record high of $1410 in 2018. We held our elections that year, the second republic was born and the GNI/capita has been falling every year since. A 23% drop since the elections. If the trend holds, we will be a low income economy for 2021.

This means the second republic has its work cut out for it. The GDP, which is the main component in GNI has been falling since 2018 and so it is no surprise the GNI/capita has been falling too. The GDP is set to grow in 2021 by 5-7%, even by World Bank and IMF predictions and so this year could be the turnaround year we wanted. However, projections also predict 2022 will see a smaller percentage increase. Which will be smaller still in 2023.

The latest IMF World Economic Outlook report of October 2021 projects ….In 2021, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow on average by 3.7%, lower than the global growth rate of 5.9%, 2022 …3.8%

From the 2022 National Budget

While this is growth, around 5% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022, we are still aways from even just reversing the 23% decline from 2018-2020. Even if we work with our govt’s projected 7.8% and 5.5% in 2021 and 2022 respectively, it’s still not enough to reverse the 23% slide. Let alone to grow the economy by 359% by 2030. Yes, we need to grow by 3.5 times in just 8 years.

Now as we enter the election cycle we know we will lose ground a little bit as politics take precedence over everything else. So 2022-2023 will likely be disappointing. Whoever wins in 2023 will have a tall order, Vision 2030 will be hard to bring to pass.

Are we making progress?

You decide. We have shrunk by 23% since the 2018 elections but expect to grow in 2021. The 5% growth in 2021 is somewhat disappointing in context.

We cannot ignore the negative impact the pandemic has had in the last 2 years. We also predict we will still it’s effects in next few years at least, especially as new variants keep stalling progress.

However, our GNI/capita fell by 15% from 2018 to 2019, before the pandemic. So we had our problems before the 2020 madness. During the pandemic in 2020, we fell by 9%, meaning a smaller percentage drop than in 2019 when there was no pandemic.

2021 will mark progress towards the upper middle income status. However, I think it’s akin to progressing by a metre in a day as you plan to go around the world in 80 days. It is progress but it’s probably too slow to reach the goal by the stated time.

So, I think we can reasonably call Vision 2030 a pipedream. 8 years is too little to attain that lofty goal. However, I hope we do grow at a good rate. Upper middle income status or not, we should see annual growth till 2030.


What’s your take?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. J

    “Ukumhanyirepi There’s no hurry in Africa” ka statement kataimbotaura hedu tichiriku school.ndokanoshandiswa na Ed ne gvmnt yake

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The sad truth is that we do live out that statement in Zimbabwe. We’re in no hurry whatsoever.

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    All I know is that our government promises are always in the distant future. When the future presents itself, sanctions, detractors and sabotage suddenly come to their defense.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      There always is some external thing that’s to blame. Of course, the govt itself would have done the absolute best that could have done. Would have succeeded too if it wasn’t for the external thing.

  3. Captain Jack Sparrow

    The government instead of formulating these plans that will not work should just put in practice what they know how to do best …stealing🤪🤪🤪 It is my view that the government should emulate North Korea which has setup a crew of hackers to steal from financial institution all over the world so as to support their ballistic programs and their personal needs 🤪🤪🤪 As simple as that …With the many crypto exchanges available world wide ,it would be putting our best talents to work …

    1. Irk

      So you are suggesting that our gvt should use us to steal money from international banks instead of putting investment favourable policies

      1. Captain Jack Sparrow

        Yep at least it relieves some strain from the povo….ndokusevenzera nyika manje 🤪🤪🤪

        1. Back from Mars

          😂😂😂You talk as if they will steal the money for the benefit of us all.Such a move will make the regime more powerfull and if 1 day we ever decide that we have had enough of silenced_suffuring , a protest/coup/Revolution will inevitably fail because the regime would have grown stronger.

          1. Captain Jack Sparrow

            At least it saves us from unnecessary taxation 🤪🤪🤪 takutodzokera mazuva atakakura ekuty tv yeiwanika pamba 1 muraini rese kkkkk

    2. Leonard Sengere

      Can we be certain there isn’t a crack team of hackers in some unassuming buildings across the country doing that. Except that only a few are benefitting from that ‘work.’

      1. Ingenious


  4. Scorched earth

    Anyone still remember ma “steps” epa ma weddings akudhara aye??…Five steps forward followed by 8 steps back? LMAO
    Im not an analogy expert but i think it’s a good one. Hatisvike nema policies avo.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Why do they even bother setting these lofty targets?

      1. Scorched earth

        It’s just plain stupidity in my view. It’s almost like saying to myself: I wanna be worth half a billion euros by end December, this December. Tbh i don’t know why they continue to embarrass themselves
        Smart city…. how’s that going? Digitalization 🤔…let me stay in the shadows…

  5. Back from Mars

    Should we even be expecting change.After all most of us spend their time whining about gvt inaction.We are taking care of the gvt with all our hearts and still expect change.This is like a winner takes all event with competitors being gvt vs povo.If we continue to take care of the gvt it will inevitably try and plough as much money from us as possible (50 us cellPhone import thingy).Unfortunately we continue to behave as if all is well.For me it is but the general population might disagree.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Apa they have made most of us just as corrupt and lazy (inactive) so in a sense we aren’t really victims. We are enablers like you said. To a certain degree the following reads true, “we get the govt we deserve, not the one we need.”

  6. Looking Sharp

    Oh ho, now that punitive cell phone tax makes sense. You know that saying ‘dress for success’? Gov is ‘taxing for success’, imagining we already have that 5k in-hand😂😂😂

    1. Leonard Sengere

      😆😆😆 You might be on to something there. They are taxing us like we got the 5K a year already.

  7. Anonymous

    Not until vose vakaenda hondo vafa, then we start making progress

    1. Leonard Sengere

      They have trained their successors in the way. Their deaths won’t change anything.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        Not too long ago, everyone thought if Bob died or left, our problems would be over, yet here we are.

        1. Leonard Sengere

          Exactly. To be honest, for the longest time I actually believed if Bob left, Zimbabwe would transform into the Switzerland of Africa. Could not have been more naive.

      2. Ingenious

        😂😂😂😂😂😂 Always straight to the point

  8. Kaykei

    We are not a tech driven economy so it will definitely take longer. It took China more than 20 years to be where it is today with all that tech and skills they have. People tend to be naive about economics, not sure if it is the microwave mentality or vanhu tagara takanonokerwa kudhara

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Tagara takanonokerwa. I like that one. That’s probably it. We’ve suffered too long we naively believe any prophecy of glory.

      1. Anonymous

        When you own a store & making a profit of US$50 000 per month and you truly want to change things in your country you talk to every customer u have to pay US$5 or Z$500 upfront per month, when you have at least
        10 000 customers you should be able to make
        US$50 000 per month.Now it will be easy to drop the prices down, if bread was Z$150 you will notice that the owner of the store will be forced to lower the prices it is possible to revert to
        US$1 is to Z$1 (RATE) trust me it is working.

        1. Back from Mars

          iwee !!

          1. Anonymous

            Simple mathematics👍,why

            1. Anonymous

              Economy problems solved just like that.You don’t need a degree🎓
              to solve a problem.😂😂

  9. N/A

    Please enough of this post…’s disheartening

2023 © Techzim All rights reserved. Hosted By Cloud Unboxed