Zimbabwe's economy continues to deteriorate as the country heads toward social collapse.
The rate of inflation in Zimbabwe is more than one-thousand percent, the highest in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. Unemployment is estimated at more than seventy percent.
John Robertson, an economic consultant, told the Reuters news agency that in Zimbabwe "As expected, its more doom and gloom. How do you start to explain a situation," he says, "where you wake up to a new price almost every day?"
Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters, "There is a lot of anger over the economic hardships, and if you combine this with the political conditions, we have an explosive social environment."
Some four-thousand commercial farmers have been forced off their farms since 2000. Cronies and family members of President Mugabe were given some of the seized farms. Others were turned over to Zimbabweans who had no agricultural training and little access to seed, fertilizer, and other needed commodities. The result was a precipitous decline in agricultural production, even in a year with ample rainfall.
Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, says that in Zimbabwe, "There is a complete meltdown, and we are trying to work with the international community to maintain that pressure on the government to recognize that continuing on the path that they are on will lead to a complete breakdown in Zimbabwe."
Since 2002, the U.S. has provided more than three-hundred-million dollars worth of food assistance to the people of Zimbabwe. In addition, the U. S. is the largest bilateral donor to the fight against HIV/AIDS. President George W. Bush said Zimbabwe "has not been a good case study for democracy":
"We are concerned about a leadership that does not adhere to democratic principles, and obviously concerned about a country that was able to, for example, feed herself, now has to import food as an example of the consequences of not adhering to democratic principles."
The suffering of Zimbabwe's people will not end until the country undertakes the deep political and economic changes needed for Zimbabwe to become a prosperous free-market democracy.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.