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Diamonds are a chef’s best friend

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According to the latest HRW report, the Government of Zimbabwe “could generate significant amounts of revenue from the diamonds, perhaps as much as US$200 million per month, if Marange and other mining centres were managed in a transparent and accountable manner.”

The Zimbabwean economy is in desperate shape, the government is bankrupt, and MDC leaders including Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti have been fund raising in Africa, Europe and the US to try and get some cash to pay civil servants, meet the country’s monthly running costs, and rebuild the nation’s economy.

But why do our politicians have their begging bowls out, when we have national resources like Marange at our disposal? US President Barack Obama recently pledged US $73 million to Zimbabwe. If we were properly managing our diamond resources, we could earn that much in under 11 days. TheWorld Bank has pledged US $22 million – less than four days of potential diamond revenue.

According to the government’s Short Term Economic Recovery Programme, and the 2009 Revised Budget,  Zimbabwe needs at least US $1bn per year just to keep things going – that’s US $83.3 million per month. If the HRW estimate is right, getting some diamond revenue into the national purse would meet these expenses – and give Zimbabwe room to grow, save, invest and develop – not just stagger along hand-to-mouth.

Sure, Zimbabwe needs a lot of money to get back on its feet – Tsvangirai estimates US $8.5 billion. But shouldn’t our first step be to get our own house in order?

One comment to “Diamonds are a chef’s best friend”

  1. Comment by Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » Zimbabwean Army of Reconstruction:

    [...] In our weekly Kubatana email newsletter we asked our subscribers to tell us what they think of our politicians going on fund raising trips when revenues from our natural resources are corruptly (mis) managed. [...]