Thursday, April 20, 2006


A journalist friend attended an economic conference in New York recently. On her return, she told me something that excited me initially and then made me sad.

A resource person at the conference was talking about stock markets. Somewhere in her presentation (the resource person that is) mentioned something about the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) being the, currently, best performing in the world.

It was just said in passing but knowing that I am from Zimbabwe, my friend could not wait to tell me about it. The ZSE, performing better than the likes of the London Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange? That could be a stretch, especially with the way the Zimbabwe economy is now. However, I would not dismiss that possibility completely.

Had a chat about it with a former bank manager back home. Her take? The runaway inflation which is officially pegged at 913 percent but is widely viewed in market circles to be beyond the 1 000 percent mark.

"The Zimbabwe stock is generally good and with constant hope that the political situation may change any day, there is a lot of speculation by investors.

I must say too, that the ZSE I know had always been viable anyway, even in the way it was run. I remember that in the late 1990s and around 2000 and 2001 when I used to cover the ZSE, it was a small but very viable market. Each day investors in such economic giants as London and Johannesburg waited impatiently for reports on trade on the ZSE.

In fact, guys at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange came to Zimbabwe twice to learn the ins and outs of the stock market from none other than the ZSE. Zimbabwe actually happens to have some of the world's best financial and economic minds.

Most of the companies that trade on the ZSE have links to British, American and South African companies, among such other strong economies, even now.

However, two things to note here: First, the good performance of the ZSE serves to show that Zimbabwe, with good economic management, can be the gem of Africa. Secondly, for any person who might have thought all is lost in Zimbabwe, there may still be a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel, we just need to reach out for it and we will fan it into brightness.


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