Over the past 10 years the Zimbabwean economy has suffered political repression, expropriation of private property and mass emigration of the skilled workforce. Analysis of what has been an economy-wide disaster has been limited due to a dearth of data. Today the World Bank for first time released enterprise survey data from Zimbabwe. 599 firms were interviewed from May 2011 through March 2012. It paints an interesting picture of firms and the business environment.
- The firms in the survey are established survivors with an average age of 33 years.
- On average the firms have 53 permanent full-time workers and 10 part-time workers.
- 46% of production workers are unskilled and 31% of firms offer formal training.
- Female participation in ownership is markedly high at 56%, but only 23% of the permanent full-time workers are female.
- Capacity utilization is only 45%.
- 97.7% of sales are domestic sales and 63% of inputs have a domestic origin.
- 11% of firms report exporting more than 1% of sales, but direct and indirect exports account for 2.3% of sales.
- On average the firms hold 48 days’ inventory, compared to 24 in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa.
- The firms are clearly finance constrained – 84% of investments are financed internally and 63% view access to finance as a constraint to doing business.
- 71% of the firms reported that they are competing against informal firms – compared to 65% in Sub-Saharan African and 56% in the world. Of these firms, 47% view this competition as a major constraint.
- The firms report fewer power outages per month than those in other Sub-Saharan African countries, but a much greater share of firms report owning a generator.
- A notably small share of firms (10%) identifies transportation as a constraint to doing business.
- 41% of firms identify tax rates as a constraint.
- Compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries, licensing seems to be less of a concern.
- 32.6% of firms identify corruption as a constraint, compared to the average of 37% in Africa and 36% in the rest of the world.
It is possible to further slice and dice the data by sector, firm-size and location. I hope to follow up with some proper analysis soon.