March 10, 2017 / 7:14 AM / 3 years ago

Zimbabwe finmin revises up 2017 economic growth forecast to 3.7 pct: state newspaper

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa delivers his mid-term monetary policy review at parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe expects higher economic growth of 3.7 percent this year, from an initial projection of 1.7 percent following a better than expected agriculture season, the finance minister was quoted as saying by a state-owned newspaper on Friday.

The southern African nation’s economy stagnated last year following a devastating drought while its budget deficit exploded as President Robert Mugabe’s administration struggled to pay its workers, which helped fan anti-government protests.

Patrick Chinamasa told military officers at the Zimbabwe Staff College in the capital, that agriculture would spur higher economic growth, with grain deliveries expected at 3 million tonnes, the highest since 1984, according to official data.

“I anticipate after the revision, our growth to be around 3.7 percent from 1.7 percent or so that we had anticipated in the 2017 national budget,” Chinamasa was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper.

Zimbabwe has received above normal rainfall during the 2016/17 agriculture season, following an El Nino-induced drought the year before that scorched crops and left more than 4 million people in need of food aid.

Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng

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