The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recognized Zimbabwe as the largest informal economy, second to Bolivia. In a working paper titled, “Shadow Economies Around the World: What Did We Learn Over the Last 20 Years?” in which 158 economies were studied, Zimbabwe, with a score of 60.6%, came second to Bolivia which topped with 62.3%. Switzerland with 7.2% and Austria at 8.9%, were among the lowest in the world.
The IMF admitted that shadow economies, which are known by various names around the world like; hidden economy, grey economy, black economy or lack economy, cash economy or informal economy, were difficult to measure. Although, the Zimbabwean government has been tough on stimulating business growth in these informal sector to build the economy.
Earlier, the Zimbabwean Government acknowledged the growth of its informal economy, which Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa described as the “new economy” in his budget presentation. The government is coming up with effective means to make sure the informal sector, which is undoubtedly now the biggest employer, contribute to the fiscus through paying taxes and other stipulated means to ensure that regulatory policies are effective and that government-backed stimulated market growth can ensure a deregulated market structure that can accept foreign direct investment.