ZIMBABWE is set to emerge with one of lowest standards of living in the world next year, according to the United Kingdom-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
In an index released last week known as the Quality of Life Index 2005, Zimbabwe is ranked last among 111 countries surveyed. The countries were judged according to their gross domestic product, health delivery systems, unemployment rate and political stability.
The highly regarded economic research unit also considered job security and civil liberties as indicators of the quality of life in a country.
Zimbabwe performed dismally in all areas with a mere 3,89 points on a notional scale of 1 to 10.
Ireland has the highest quality of life with a gleaming score of 8,33 while Switzerland is second at 8,07, according to the EIU. Morocco emerged the highest ranked African country at number 65 with 6,081 points, followed by Libya at 70 with 5,849 points.
South Africa is the highest ranked Southern African country at 92 while Botswana is at position 104 with 4,810 points. Zimbabwe anchors the list with 3,89 at position 111.
Analysts attribute the low ranking to the political instability, economic meltdown and the destruction of key sectors of the economy by the government.
They say Zimbabwe now has some of the poorest people in Southern Africa because of economic mismanagement and the breakdown of the rule of law, which has scared away potential investors.
Zimbabwe is in its fifth year of economic decline with agriculture, formerly the country’s highest foreign currency earner, slumping by more than 70% since 2000 on the back of violent land seizures.
The manufacturing sector has also plunged by more than 35% after company closures. Unemployment remains high at around 70%.