Zimbabwe must act quickly to dig its economy out of a hole and access international financial aid, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

Government spending and foreign debt are too high and it needs structural reform, Zimbabwe mission chief Gene Leon told Reuters news agency.

The country’s incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to grow the economy and provide “jobs, jobs, jobs”.

The once-thriving economy is now seen as a regional basket case.

“The economic situation in Zimbabwe remains very difficult,” Mr Leon told Reuters.

He said high government spending should be reined in and Zimbabwe should address the large international debt it has defaulted on.

“Immediate action is critical to reduce the deficit to a sustainable level, accelerate structural reforms, and re-engage with the international community to access much needed financial support,” Mr Leon said.

Robert Mugabe, who led Zimbabwe for 37 years, stepped down earlier this week under pressure from the military and his own Zanu-PF party.

His policies, including disastrous land reforms and printing too much money, are blamed for the calamitous state of Zimbabwe’s economy.

On Thursday, Zimbabwe’s main opposition called for deep-rooted political reform to dismantle the repressive apparatus that sustained Mr Mugabe’s regime.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was cautiously optimistic that a Mnangagwa presidency would not “mimic and replicate the evil, corrupt, decadent and incompetent Mugabe regime”, reported AFP news agency.

It is unclear whether Zanu-PF will govern alone ahead of scheduled elections next year, or whether a coalition government of national unity that includes opposition groups will be formed.

Source: Newsday

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