Zimbabweans only worried about unemployment: Survey

Zimbabweans’ biggest concern is unemployment, a latest Afrobarometer survey reveals confirming the high joblessness in the country as the economy shows no sign of a turnaround.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to create jobs and grow the economy upon assuming power in 2017 after the removal of his late predecessor Robert Mugabe.

In the 2018 election campaigns, the promise of a better life and jobs also topped Zanu PF’s election campaigns. While there are differing views on the country’s job data as the economy has largely been informalised, the Afrobarometer confirms that unemployment is a biggest concern among Zimbabweans.

Infrastructure, education, management of the economy and water supply follow as top priorities on citizens’ agenda, the survey adds.

“While rankings vary somewhat by respondents’ location, gender, generation, and education levels, the major concerns are fairly consistent across demographic groups. Unemployment is Zimbabweans’ biggest concern, cited by 38% of respondents as one of their top three priorities for government action. Infrastructure/roads (33%), education (31%), management of the economy (26%), and water supply (20%) round out the top five,” the report reads.

“A lack of jobs is more widely seen as a priority in the cities (45%) than in rural areas (33%), as is management of the economy (36% vs. 19%) (Figure 2). Rural residents are more likely than their urban counterparts to prioritize health (25% vs. 11%) and water supply (23% vs. 16%).”

Informal trading is an escape route for many owing to lack of job opportunities in the country. Graduates are leaving universities to add to the number of the formally unemployed.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been seen as further piling economic shocks on already struggling companies, some of whom have been forced to downsize or close shop altogether.

Government promised a Covid-19 bailout package for struggling companies but reports show that very few companies have ever benefited from the scheme.

“Men are somewhat more likely than women to rank unemployment and infrastructure/roads among the most important problems that government should address. More women than men cite food shortage as a top concern.   Among youth, unemployment (40%) and education (35%) top the list of priorities (Table 1). Among respondents with primary schooling or less, education (33%) ranks as the No. 1 concern,” the report adds.

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