Tsvangirai wants to create a $100 bn economy

BULAWAYO, – Zimbabwe's MDC can grow the economy by 10 percent a year if it wins elections that President Robert Mugabe wants held this year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Sunday.\r\n

Tsvangirai, a long-time rival of Mugabe, formed a power-sharing government with his opponent in 2009 after disputed elections won by his Movement for Democratic Change but marred by violence against his supporters.

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Since the formation of the unity government, the country’s economy has stabilised and the International Monetary Fund expects GDP growth of 7.3 percent this year — much lower than the government’s official estimate of 9.3 percent. 

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Tsvangirai told delegates to an MDC congress aimed at revitalising the party that he was confident of taking power in the next elections. Mugabe has called for a fresh vote this year but Tsvangirai said elections will only be held in 2012.

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“The elections are critical in that they will, without doubt, usher an MDC government into power,” Tsvangirai said.

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“It is only an MDC government that has capacity and support to grow this economy by about 10 percent every year.”

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Tsvangirai said his party would embrace investor-friendly policies, attracting investment in mining, infrastructure development and agriculture to boost growth and deal with a jobless rate of more than 90 percent.

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Zimbabwe’s economy is recovering after a decade of economic collapse, which critics largely blame on Mugabe’s policies, including the seizure of white-owned commercial farms for black resettlement.

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The country has the world’s second-biggest platinum resources after South Africa and sizeable gold, diamond, coal and ferrochrome resources.

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Mugabe has rattled foreign investors with plans to force mining companies to surrender at least 51 percent of their local shares to blacks by the end of September. The MDC warns this would lead to economic collapse.

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At the congress, Tsvangirai retained the MDC leadership unchallenged, while the majority of senior members were voted back into office. Analysts said he would have to move quickly to heal the party after bitter fights for leadership posts.