There are diverse factors contributing to Zimbabwe’s economic miasma ranging from drought, to land seizures, and threatened nationalization of the mining industry; yet, the impact of HIV/AIDS is frequently downplayed. Zimbabwe exhibits high levels of income inequality, with the poor spending much of their total annual expenditure on food and health care. What is not often understood is that the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been contributing to the decline of the Zimbabwean economy for some time, exacerbating income inequalities, undermining societal productivity and generating capital flight out of the country. In this assignment I will document the observed effects of HIV/AIDS on the domestic economy at the micro and macroeconomic levels on foreign investment and on the impact of foreign aid in Zimbabwe.
Economic development should be regarded as a “generalized process of capital accumulation” wherein capital consists of both physical and human assets and institutions (Helen Jackson: 2002). AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which means the body loses the ability to fight against infections because the immune is weakened by HIV( Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The historian William McNeill was rather explicit with regard to HIV and AIDS when he stated that the disruptive effect of such an epidemic is likely to be greater than the mere loss of life, severe as that may be. Often survivors are demoralized, and lose all faith in inherited custom and belief which had not prepared them for such a disaster. Population losses within the twenty to forty age bracket are obviously far more damaging to the society at large than comparably numerous destruction of the very young or the very old. Indeed, any community that loses a significant percentage of its young adults in a single epidemic finds it hard to maintain itself materially and spiritually….the structural cohesion of the community is almost certain to collapse.
At the household level, AIDS has had a dramatic negative effect on production and earnings, resulting in reduced income, declining productivity, and the reallocation of labour and land to deal with debilitated and/or dead breadwinners. AIDS-induced debilitation generates a number of negative demand and supply-side shocks to households, including the loss of income from infected wage earners, significant expenditures on medical expenses, and the loss of employment as healthy individuals must care for ill family members. Premature AIDS-induced mortality results in the permanent loss of income, large funeral costs, and permanent labour substitution as children are removed from school to generate income for the family. Furthermore, widows may lose their land when their husbands die of AIDS, as male relatives may lay claim to the dead individual’s belongings (including their spouses) according to custom. Given that most Zimbabwean women lack legal certificates (such as wills or marriage certificates) their rights are not protected.
Moreover, the burden of disease falls unequally upon classes, with poorer populations bearing a disproportionate share of the costs relative to their incomes. The indigent may be forced into sexually exploitive situations in order to generate income to make ends meet. The poor will also be most vulnerable to infection given their lower levels of nutrition and lower basal health conditions, and will be unable to afford certain medical treatments (i.e. anti-retroviral therapies) that may slow the progression of the disease. Therefore, it is important to understand that the burden of AIDS tends to fall upon the lower and middle classes, which fosters greater income disparities in Zimbabwean society as a whole.
Considerable decline has been witnessed across important sectors ranging from the manufacturing , mining and a decline in earnings from tourism. This is not to suggest that the AIDS epidemic is responsible for this entire decline in productivity, yet it certainly is a...
References: AIDS COUNSELLING, (A Manual for Primary Health Care Workers 2010), Ministry of Health Zimbabwe. Government Printers, Harare
The National Drug and Therapeutics Policy Advisory Committee Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2011, GUIDELINES FOR ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY IN ZIMBABWE
The World Bank 2010, Averting AIDS Crises in Eastern Europe and Asia: A Regional Support Strategy
Kwaramba S: The Socio-Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS on Communal Agricultural Production Systems in Zimbabwe, ZFU and Stiftung F E 2010
Zimbabwe Human Development Report 2003
UNAIDS, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, (2006), 8. Available at www.unaids.org/en/HIV_data/2006GlobalReport/default.asp.
R. Bonnel, Economic Analysis of HIV/AIDS, ADF2000 Background Paper, The World Bank, September 2000
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