Article from ROAPE Volume 29 Number 91
Whither Zimbabwe? Crisis & Democratisation
When it attained its independence in 1980, there were high hopes expressed for Zimbabwe's political and economic future. It was amongst the top four more industrialized countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; it possessed a more diversified economy than most countries; and it had a better human resource base than most; and it had a middle-income status. Comparatively speaking, therefore, Zimbabwe had better prospects of making a head start in economic and political development than most countries on the continent. For some years, especially in its first decade of independence, it appeared to live up to some of these expectations. There were considerable investments in social development (characterised by a massive expansion in the education and social sectors); the economy itself grew; and it quickly became the regional breadbasket. Furthermore, the country was an oasis of stability in a region then mired in turmoil from Angola to Mozambique, and in liberation struggles from Namibia to South Africa.