By Memory Mataranyika

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) chief John Mangudya has been classified among the worst central bank governors, according to rankings by Global Finance magazine, in sharp contrast to South Africa’s Lesetja Kganyago who has a top ranking and has been described as a “bold” central banker.

Zimbabwe has faced sustained monetary and inflationary headwinds, chief among them a runaway exchange rate, cash shortages and plummeting public confidence in the banking sector. Mangudya has not had much progress in addressing the financial mayhem characterising Zimbabwe’s monetary sector.

ndustry, business and manufacturing has also been hammered by the monetary mismatches obtaining in the economy, say business leaders.

“There is no confidence in the banking sector, inflation remains problematic and the exchange rate is far divorced from the parallel market despite advice from IMF for convergence. He cannot be among the best governors with the state of the economy and monetary sector,” a Zimbabwean CEO with a large manufacturing company told Fin24.

Global Finance gave the Zimbabwean central bank governor a score of C- for 2021, signifying one of the worst scores for the African continent and only below Namibia, Mauritania and Madagascar which have scores of D. In 2020, Mangudya had a D grading.

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The globally respected magazine, with input from analysts, economists and financial editors, each year grades the world’s leading central bankers on a scale of A to F, based on a series of objective and subjective metrics, including the appropriate implementation of monetary policy.

According to Oxford Economics Africa “Zimbabwe headline inflation came in at 60.7% year on year in December, which means overall inflation averaged 143% in 2021”.

This illustrates the price hikes Zimbabweans have endured, a trend that has continued into the new year with life assurance companies hiking premiums, schools steeply raising fees and prices of medicines in pharmacies going up .

Mangudya has deferred the start of the 2022 foreign exchange auction market to 18 January, courting much criticism and speculation that Zimbabwe has run out of foreign currency to allocate local producers. According to central bank data, it allocated just about $2 billion to small scale and large-scale enterprises in 2021.

“The apex bank also wants commercial banks to help the recovery by encouraging their clients to invest in government securities. The bank has launched a regulatory sandbox framework to encourage innovations in the fintechs and further liberalized the operations of bureau de change to promote financial inclusion,” noted Global Finance in its report card for Mangudya.

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On Wednesday Mangudya said he was going after currency manipulators in the pharmaceutical sector and in schools.

The poor performance of Zimbabwe’s reserve bank governor is in stark contrast to Kganyago, the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) governor described by Global Finance as “bold” in responding to the economic shocks that have characterised South Africa’s economy.

Kganyago is graded A- for 2021 for a man who has marshaled the banking sector to remain sound, liquid and well capitalized “despite grappling with bad debts and low” profits. “Five banks continue to dominate, accounting for 90% of assets.”

In November, the SARB raised its rate by 25 basis points to 3.75%, the first time since March a year earlier, a decision Kganyago “contends that while [it] might ignite short term pains, in the long run it is ideal for the economy”.

The other top ranked governors in Africa are A-graded Tarek Amer of Egypt and Morocco’s Abdellatif Jouahri. Rwanda’s John Rwangombwa had a B+ ranking, while Patrick Njoroge of Kenya was given a B grade – fin24

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