Industry and the Urban Sector in Zimbabwe’s Political Economy


  • Padraig Carmody
  • Scott Taylor


The land question and Zimbabwe’s current crisis of governance appear to be intimately related. However, an extensive survey of the population in the mid-1990s ranked land access very low on the list of priorities when compared to employment creation. Zimbabwe’s current constitutional and political crises spring primarily from the urban, not the rural areas. Initially the MDC’s primary support base was in the urban areas amongst workers disaffected with rising prices and unemployment. Even if the MDC acceeds to power, it will have to face the same set of expectations from workers for improvement in their living and working conditions. Consequently, the regeneration of Zimbabwe’s political economy will depend, in part, on the rehabilitation of Zimbabwe’s urban industry. This paper examines developments in Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector since 1997. It explores trends in employment, output and exports by sub-sector in order to understand the evolution of sector during the years of crisis and the implications for Zimbabwe’s political economy.