This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
170813Z Feb 04
UNCLAS HARARE 000279
DEPT FOR AF/EPS DKRZYWDA DEPT PLS PASS USTR W. JACKSON TREASURY FOR OWHYCHSHAW
E. O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ETRD PREL ZI SUBJECT: Input for President's 2004 AGOA Report on Zimbabwe
Ref: State 28997
Post's input for the President's 2004 Report on AGOA to Congress follows:
a. AGOA Trade and Investment: n/a
b. Market Economy/Economic Reform: Since the late-1990s, the Government has approached the economy through broad interventionism, with parastatals serving as monopolistic middlemen for products such as tobacco and grain. Over the course of 2003, however, the Government relaxed certain onerous restrictions and price controls. Nonetheless, it still maintains many barriers to trade - including high duties for importers and exchange requirements for exporters. It is paying only a small portion of its international arrears, which have reached nearly US$ 2 billion. Inflation reached 600 percent by year end, and the savings rate has dropped from 12 to 4 percent since 2000. The Government did not make progress privatizing inefficient parastatals in 2003.
c. Rule of Law/Political Pluralism/Anti-Corruption: The opposition political party operates in a climate of intimidation and repression. The GOZ is prosecuting the opposition leader for treason, a crime that carries the death penalty. Over the past year, the GOZ has removed Harare's elected mayor and shut down for prolonged periods the only non-government daily newspaper. During the country's high-profile land redistribution, the GOZ has ignored rule-of-law and due process.
d. Poverty Reduction: While the GOZ maintains several programs that provide food or basic services to the poor, these have had minimal effect compared to the general thrust of GOZ economic policy, which has caused most Zimbabweans to grow progressively poorer over the past 6 years. Many Zimbabweans take home but a fraction of their 1997 real wages. Income taxes kick in at a monthly salary of US$3. Electricity and fuel are heavily subsidized but difficult to come by. Controls have failed to keep prices in check. An acute cash shortage made it difficult for lower-income Zimbabweans to access money in their accounts during most of 2003.
e. Labor/Child Labor/Human Rights: Despite official recognition of worker rights, the government continues to exert heavy pressure on labor unions, limiting their freedom of association and right to organize. Unions have been denied routine meetings and necessary consultations with constituents under the draconian Protection of Order and Security Act(POSA). Senior members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have been arrested on spurious charges, some of them later reporting physical abuse while in police custody.