Despite the majority of the country being “euphoric” after Zimbabwe President Mugabe stepped down yesterday, the stock market has taken a massive hit. Investor confidence in the stability of the country is low, and the Zimbabwe stock market crash of 35% over the past few days has erased over a third of the country’s market cap.
Zimbabwe residents currently eagerly await the installation of former Mugabe deputy Emmerson Mnanagwa as the country’s leader, arriving to the city today and set to be sworn in this Friday. While investors are cautious, the country’s citizens are hopeful, holding signs that read “Welcome back, our hero” and “True to your word, you’re back. Welcome.”
Mnanagwa has long been an ally of disgraced Former President Mugabe, often acting as a brutal enforcer for his rule. Recently, however, he was fired — likely to ensure the succession of Mugabe’s wife. The country has been in turmoil due to the president’s unpopular and ineffective rule, and there is much excitement about the much-loved Mnanagwa returning to power.
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There’s a certain amount of skepticism worldwide, however, over whether Mnanagwa will be an improvement for the country after a near four decade Mugabe rule that left the once-affluent country impoverished. Not all citizens are happy either, with many apprehensive over the arrests made during recent military interventions that preempted Mugabe’s resignation.
In public statements thus far, Mnanagwa has used inclusive language, stating that “never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation.” Although Mnanagwa has a previous reputation as “the crocodile” for his brutal and shrewd enforcement of Mugabe’s orders, citizens remain hopeful that his efficiency will bring about the change that the country needs. Whether or not his tactics as a Vice President tasked with carrying out Mugabe’s questionable vision will translate into a leadership more beneficial to Zimbabwe’s people remains to be seen.
Although much of the country remains optimistic, the fact remains that the financial situation is bleak after the Zimbabwe stock market crash. The country used to be one of the more successful African nations, but Mugabe’s terrible management of the country’s resources and the resulting political unrest has led to some major financial repercussions. Only time will tell whether the installation of Mnanagwa will result in the change the country needs, but there’s no doubt about it: Zimbabwe has a long way to go if it’s to regain its status as a powerful African nation.