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New ECA study reveals Harare contributes one-third of Zimbabwe’s GDP

10 December, 2021
New ECA study reveals Harare contributes one-third of Zimbabwe’s GDP

Addis Ababa, 10 December 2021 (ECA) – A new study, produced by the Harare City Authority with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), for the time reveals that Harare represents about one-third of Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product (GDP).

The study breaks new ground by quantifying Harare’s annual contributions to the Zimbabwean economy. The contributes to a new regional guideline on city GDP estimation which is currently being developed by ECA, drawing from the lessons emerging from Harare and other pilot cities in Africa.

Once published in early 2022, the guideline will serve as a capacity-building tool and a practical manual for local and national governments to regularly measure and monitor the contribution of their cities – primary and secondary – to their national economies. Local governments will also be able to use the city-level data to inform urban planning, economic policymaking and investment decisions.

The Harare City Authority presented the study at a workshop in Harare on 9 December where local government officials, national accounts specialists, data experts and urbanization practitioners endorsed its findings and reviewed the methodology.

New insights

According to the findings, Harare represented at least 34 per cent of Zimbabwe’s economy from 2015 to 2020. In terms of GDP per capita, Harare’s economic output per person at USD $2,901.

The services sector accounted for the largest share – on average 60 per cent – of Harare’s GDP, while the informal sector contributed about 40 per cent of gross value addition in areas such as transport, construction and manufacturing.

In addition, Harare maintained an annual average growth rate of 2.2 per cent between 2015 and 2020.

Localizing city GDP practice

Speaking at the workshop, Mr. Tidjani Chetima, a Social Affairs Officer at ECA’s Urbanization and Development Section, said: “Cities in Africa have an enormous ability to drive economic growth with good balance to environmental effects. But to fully utilize that ability, cities need disaggregated economic data to facilitate evidence-based urban planning and management, which is hardly measured in Africa.”

Stakes are high, he added, without planned interventions, cities are unlikely to create jobs necessary to improve livelihoods, which, in return, could deepen extreme poverty and inequalities.

Mr. Chetima continued: “Together with partners, ECA has been providing technical assistance to a number of African cities, including Harare, on their city GDP estimation. We hope this pioneering study will make a meaningful contribution to Harare’s development and the findings will guide the city’s interventions to reap the benefits of sustainable urbanization.”

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826