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As if 782 percent inflation, mass homelessness caused by their own government, and an economy worse than a warzone weren't enough for the beleaguered Zimbabwean people, they now face this: No more Coca-Cola. The BBC is reporting that local bottlers can no longer get foreign exchange to import the syrup, so Coke fans (probably most Zimbabweans) must go without their favorite drink for now. While this might seem a minor worry in a country facing such monumental problems, I take it as an ominous sign of just how far things have broken down. As the BBC notes:
Coca-Cola is normally available even in small villages in Zimbabwe, and supplies continued even throughout the bush war that led to independence in 1980.
Where the bottom lays for Zimbabwe is far from clear, so I'm not overly optimistic that we've reached a critical juncture (actually, I would have thought we passed that point many months ago….) Now, once the beer starts to run out, then I think we will be near the end of Mr. Mugabe.
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.
Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The Data for African Development Working Group’s recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.