African countries loaning money to African countries? Advisable?

As we all know by now, Zimbabwe has been struggling financially for quite a while now and has had to use many different currencies in order to stabilize the country and help its people survive. Many international countries have helped Zimbabwe financially over the past few years, but not only from the international community, but also South Africa. South Africa has helped Zimbabwe a great deal, which is surprising, but also very encouraging to see. According to fin24, “South Africa has approved more $100m (R905m) in budgetary support to cash-strapped Zimbabwe, helping plug a gap in its finances ahead of elections expected in the second half of the year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday (15 April 2013)”.

 

Biti goes on to say that the South African cabinet has made a decision and feels that it is a “positive” one. Yes, it is a very positive call on Zimbabwe’s behalf, but how about South Africa? Not only the effects on the economy of South Africa but also its people? To be honest, South Africa could do with that extra R905million that they ‘loaned’ to Zimbabwe. South Africa is not as stable as it could or should be. The cabinet of South Africa does not need the consent from its people of the country; however, they should take them into consideration. I personally feel that the needs of South Africa’s should come above anyone else. For instance, there are many homeless, starving and sick citizens across South Africa that could easily be cared for with this lump sum of money. The issues of rape and murder could be decreased with money spent on more hidden cameras or more of the police force patrolling.  These are only a few examples that could be improved in South Africa. This decision that the South African cabinet has made may cause many citizens to get upset. They may turn around and say that they want to pay less tax seeing as the country has enough money to support another country.

 

In saying this, I am also very pleased to see that Zimbabwe will be receiving more funds into the country so that they will be able to hold the planned elections in July 2013. Zimbabwe should in fact get as much funds as possible in order to ensure that the elections do run as smoothly as hoped, with many officials overlooking the procedure, and hopefully minimizing the violence and ability to cheat. Zimbabwe should however not agree to the contract of a “loan” if they may not be able to repay the money to the countries that lent them the funds. This will cause great violence and tension, and Zimbabwe may end up in bigger trouble than it already is. The other problem that Zimbabwe also needs to try and resolve is the fact that the amount of money leaving the country for food imports exceeds the amount coming in. the government should rather leave it up to the private farmers to import and export their goods, rather than the government itself and its revenue.

Advertisements

Butting it out

You may think that this is a topic that has been spoken about one too many times, but I feel that it cannot be spoken about enough as it is still a very big part of society and the business industry, which is keeping many people employed, including my hard-working father… the dreaded tobacco leaf and the addictive nicotine. In other words is could be a win-lose situation. But I am not only concerned about those who do smoke but also those who are innocent, which is what Debbie Thwaits emphasized a great deal.

It was a random night out in the town, as one would say, and after a few drinks, with the music ‘pumping’, lights flashing and everyone in high spirits (excuse the pun), I thought that it would be a “cool thing” to have a drag or two of a friends cigarette. This is only because I was standing there in the smoking section with friends (majority whom smoke), and thought it would be sociable and make me look as if I was doing something. Something triggered that it was wrong and I stopped immediately. The habit of smoking runs in my family including, my grandfather, his daughter (my aunt, Debbie Thwaits), his son (my father) as well as my brother.

Smoking is a common habit of many people all over the world, whether there are strict rules about smoking areas or not. The country that Debbie mentioned which has the most amounts of people smoking is Asia, and in a way, unfortunately, it is increasing. Australia on the other hand has the opposite effect, with the numbers reducing. This is due to how expensive the cigarettes are and the fact that companies are not allowed to advertise it. There are also very limited places in Asia in which smoking is not allowed. To a point I do agree with this, as I am not a smoker and the “second-hand smoke hazards” do affect me, but then again, it is providing many people, especially in Africa (Zimbabwe) with an income, preventing poverty. The Gaurdian.UK reiterated this point by stating that, “After a decade of agricultural turmoil that crashed the economy, this sector is seen as one of the few bright spots. The crop’s value has bounced back from £105m in 2008 to more than £330m this year (2012). Moreover, whereas tobacco production was once dominated by a white elite, now tens of thousands of farmers are black”.

Debbie Thwaits, a Hypnotherapist, said, “South Africa has become a lot more aware of the secondary smoke health hazards and its acceptance is decreasing greatly”. Thank goodness South Africa is not ignoring this issue, because health is just as important as the politics and economics of the country.

I can also see how drastically smoking habits have improved since Debbie’s era of the 1960s. Doctor’s used to smoke in the consulting rooms with their sick patients, and sometimes even tell them “take up smoking, it will help your condition”. Not only in consulting rooms but also in “trains, movies and nearly every place, every room in the house”. My aunty and her lifestyle when she smoked is a prime example of how quickly it can affect you. Debbie started at the age of 14 in the stables in Zimbabwe with my father and uncle, and said to her brothers “I just want to try this”. Everyone always says that and thinks that it will go that way, but it never does.  And what happened… all three of them became addicted from the age of fourteen. As Debbie stated, you have to want to give up smoking. But which teenager wants to give up smoking when it looks “cool”? Finally Debbie gave up in 1995 for five years. She read a book by the name of “Easy way to stop smoking” by Allan Carr.  The 2000 millennium party came, and after a few drinks, same situation as me, she thought she was strong enough to handle one or two puffs. She proved herself wrong and ended up a full-blown smoker again. Sadly, Debbie as well as my family had the trauma of seeing my Grandfather pass away at the age of 67, caused by the dreaded tobacco leaf and nicotine. He got emphysema as well as lung cancer, which eventually spread. In just three weeks after finding out about his cancer, he was not around any longer. It blew everyone away as the pace was so rapid. This was Debbie’s “turning point”, and saw a new light that smoking is a ‘killer’ no matter what people say, such as, “you’re young, enjoy it” and “you only live once”. Precisely, you do only have one life, and it should not be wasted on an illness that you CAN prevent.

As mentioned above, Debbie Thwaits is a Hypnotherapist, and has a business that she runs on her own, “Quit smoking in 60 minutes”. She did this training coarse in Australia (obviously) as she implied that natural therapies are becoming a much bigger industry as people are tired of anti-biotic’s and are moving away from ‘drugs’ as such. Debbie was taught, as well as witnessed that people do in fact smoke to be part of a particular group, and to be “cool”. A cigarette provides “love and connection” for someone as the smoking group all have something in common. Smoking is in someone’s sub-conscious because they feel that they need the ‘love’ with any emotion that they are feeling, therefore, Debbie mentioned the cigarette becomes “your friend”. In order for those who are smoking to go to Debbie, you have to want to give up smoking, so Debbie will be able to align your sub-conscious and conscious, through looking at your daily movements. You can only help yourselves at the end of the day. But some of you may be too far down the wrong road to prevent this harm?

 

Reference:

Debbie Thwaits – (082) 355 1770

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why should people work so hard for themselves for nothing?

It has been known that over the years, Zimbabwe and South Africa have been through a great amount together. South Africa has definitely helped Zimbabwe a great deal, and been there for Mugabe and its people through all the thick and thin, when others were not there. One example of this is with the imports from South Africa to Zimbabwe, such as food, when there was barely anything on the shelves in Zim. Zimbabwe went from there being nothing to many varieties of South African food goods. However, as Malcom Sharara, from News24, states it in the article that Zimbabwe has a love-hate relationship with South Africa. This is because the trade affair is not exactly even.

 

The governor of The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono said that 60% of Zimbabwe’s’ imports are from South Africa. It is not a bad thing that the imports are from South Africa (at least Zimbabwe is helping another African country produce, and not an international country). It is the fact that the products that are being imported are finished and completed. Not even half-heartedly done. I completely agree with Gono not being happy with this, and the fact that it is not going to help the Zimbabwe economy grow, because they are spending more on imports than they are selling as exports.  The people of Zimbabwe are slowly getting unemployed or staying unemployed because there are no available jobs for them, due to the fact that all the products are completed in South Africa. I for one know that this is not because the people in Zimbabwe are incapable of producing the same product; it is because there are no resources in Zimbabwe such as the machinery and raw materials. This is what Gono is trying to put across which is extremely delightful to see that someone in Zimbabwe is actually stating the obvious and trying to sort it out. This is on of the basics that Zimbabwe is lacking and so from here onwards it could hopefully only get better.

 

Trade has increased from $4.6bn in 2011 to $5.9bn in 2012. This is not a bad thing that trade has increased, because this is what is actually help keeps the economies going, and some people satisfied. However what needs to be changed is the fact that more foreign currency is leaving Zimbabwe than is coming in, making it poorer. When the people of South Africa want to invest in Zimbabwe, the problem lies with them trusting the economy and making sure that their money is safe. As soon as there is any failure in Zimbabwe, Mugabe is not afraid to take anyone’s assets away from them in order to help the economy. Not even an explanation is needed. Why should people work so hard for themselves for nothing?

Multi-currency or not?

It was about a decade ago when Zimbabwe went into recession, and the country struggled a great deal with petrol shocks, economic crisis, food shortages and homeless people. The reason for this big problem was because there was such great inflation. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe carried on printing more and more Zimbabwe dollar notes as soon as they ran out, which created hyperinflation therefore decrease the value of the Zimbabwe dollar. This what lead to Zimbabwe using multi-currencies/ international currencies such as “the United States dollar, Botswana Pula, British pound and South African rand to stem 
hyperinflation that had made the local unit worthless”, said Ndamu Sandu.

One Hundred Trillion Zimbabwe Dollars

One Hundred Trillion Zimbabwe Dollars

When Zimbabwe started using these different currencies, it definitely did help the situation in Zimbabwe a great deal. There were very few or no petrol ques and there was food on the shelves that was imported from South Africa or produced in Zimbabwe. However, this does not mean that the full economic crisis was resolved, as one can see that Zimbabwe is still struggling with the violence and politics that is taking place. And the country does not look nearly as close to how it should look, such as the conditions on the roads, shops, schools, business etc. I have witnessed this with my own eyes. It has been very good for the country and its people to use multi-currencies in order for the country to be more civilized. In saying that, Zimbabwe is seen as an independent country and so I feel that it should and would be advisable for Zimbabwe to have its own currency again. If the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did what a bank is supposed to do and not just print money because the feel they need to, the Zimbabwe dollar would hopefully stay strong and the economy would work in the way it should, with the people working and bartering with one another so that the economy flows naturally.

With the new constitution of Zimbabwe and the elections that are hopefully going to take place in July, Zimbabwe might bring back their own currency? If so, I feel that it is extremely wise for them to approach the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for advise on how to go about controlling the hyperinflation and resolving the ‘economic shocks’.  In doing so, Zimbabwe’s economy may improve dramatically, however the central bank must not print notes as soon as they see a shortage. The international community whom has strong economies already must control that this does not take place.

 

Tension continues to escalate a week away

Image

It is extremely pleasing to see that there is still daily news about the happenings in Zimbabwe, leading up to the referendum of the constitution. Not only one newspaper shows concern and interest, but many. It is however extremely sad to see that this fight is still carrying on and that many citizens are still struggling to find peace and comfort in their own homeland. It is going to be a tough few months ahead for the people of Zimbabwe, with the rivalry between the two parties, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu-PF. SAPA reports that the Secretary-general of the MDC party and Minister of Finance Tendai Biti insists that all Zimbabweans that are working in South Africa should come home in order to vote for the new constitution that has been seen as “a miracle” and it is one of the “finest” like South Africa’s.

Biti reiterates the downfall that Zimbabwe was in 2008 when Mugabe won the elections through unfair play and voting strategies. We need to keep reminding ourselves how bad Zimbabwe actually was before the US dollar was introduced and the state many citizens health was in. It was only Zimbabwe that was dealing with these major problems, so surely it has got something to do with the Government? It is very pleasing to see that there is finally a new constitution that has been made and Zimbabwe has a chance of picking up again. In saying this, I have had hope for many years now, but we cannot give up on such a great country. This is why Biti is so concerned with the fact that Zimbabwe citizens must return home in order to vote, because the MDC has a big chance in winning the 2013 elections, and hopefully changing a lot in Zimbabwe, as the MDC has kept positive and have shown a great interest in battles of Zim. The MDC is not a political party, but rather a people’s project, which is extremely encouraging for the people of Zimbabwe as their best interests are being looked after.

I do agree that the joint government that took place in 2009, helped lift the country quite dramatically, however one party needs to be the only one ruling now to get some sort of order. It would be advisable for the people that are struggling in Zimbabwe to go home and vote so that the new constitution can be put to work, and hopefully as Biti said the MDC will win the upcoming elections. Of course there is going to be great tension and conflict which needs to be monitored by fence-sitters, due to the fact that Mugabe is still threatening some of the people to vote from him.

Mugabe knows that he has a very slight chance on winning; after all he is 89 years old and does have mental condition to say the least. One would think and hope that he had already given up by now.  It is encouraging to see the leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC, sticking up for Mugabe and having some sort of faith in him even though he has put his people of Zimbabwe through absolute tragedy. The guidelines of SADC hope to sustain the ‘free, fair and peaceful elections’; however this was ignored on the first day that the referendum was announced.

I believe that Zimbabwe will eventually come right through all the thick and thin and hardship, but once there it would have been worth every conflict (well almost every conflict!).