The Fate of Livelihoods Under COVID-19 Lockdowns and Neo-liberal Restructuring

The government of Zimbabwe has, since 2018, been engaged in a process of neo-liberal restructuring which is synonymous with the structural adjustment programme of the 1990s. One of the most popular statements associated with Mnangagwa’s government has been “Zimbabwe is open for business.” Unlike under Mugabe, the new government has pinned its hopes on attracting foreign direct investment and, in the process, joined the rest of Africa in what Paul Collier has referred to as the ‘race to the bottom.’

Furthermore, Zimbabwe, like the rest of the world, had to contend with the effects of COVID-19 for most of 2020. Beginning in March 2020 the country imposed several lockdown measures which, among other things, curtailed not only the spread of the virus but also economic activity. Most sectors of the economy were severely affected. When government began to lift restrictions, it did not extend these measures to what we generally refer to as the informal sector. In fact, in some instances, such as in the transport sector, it looked as if government was bent on destroying the commuter omnibus sector to prop up its own ZUPCO or to arm-twist independent operators to work under the ZUPCO franchise.

In our latest report we explore in more detail the extent to which the government’s neo-liberal thrust combined with COVID-19 related convulsions have affected livelihoods across the country.

Read the full report here (2MB PDF)

Source: SIVIO Institute