Poverty and the Politics of Poverty in Independent Zimbabwe, 1980-2017#

Mark Nyandoro, Neelambar Hatti


The causes of poverty in Zimbabwe range from political, economic and social policies to the deployment and utilization of economic resources such as labour and natural endowments in a country where corruption is rampant among the political and economic elite. The paper firstly analyses the relationship between politics and poverty in economic development. Secondly, whilst the dominant political power-configuration of the colonial era provided the social and historical setting of the current poverty structure, it argues that both rural and urban poverty after independence in 1980 has as much to do with colonial as post-independence policies. Thirdly, it posits that while poverty theories are important in understanding the causes and nature of poverty, there is nothing that bears a more eloquent testimony to the existence of poverty in Zimbabwe than the voices of poor people themselves. Fourthly, poverty in Zimbabwe occurs in various forms and dimensions such as income levels, health, education, and employment. Any effort to mitigate poverty depends on the successful resolution of the political and economic policy landscape.

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