Zimbabwe on track to grow 8.1 % this year: finance minister

JOHANNESBURG – Zimbabwe's economy is on track to grow by 8.1 percent this year and close to 10 percent in 2011, the finance minister said on Thursday.\r\n

Zimbabwe was battered by a decade of economic contraction and hyperinflation, which reached 500 billion percent in 2008 at the peak of the country’s political and economic crisis.

The country’s economy has begun to recover after a unity government set up last year dumped the worthless local currency for foreign currencies and after a revival in the agriculture sector.

"We are on track (for 8.1 percent). Poised for 10 percent next year," Finance Minster Tendai Biti told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Johannesburg.

Biti told conference delegates earlier that Zimbabwe had approved 1.1 billion dollars in foreign investment in the period January 2009 to May 2010 for 199 projects in the country with 90 percent of those in the mining sector.

"This train is moving", he said, referring to the economy.

Biti also said Zimbabweans living abroad had shown strong interest in a $50 million diaspora bond planned by the government.