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THE City of Harare has contributed about 38% to Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product (GDP), a new initiative by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has revealed.

The initiative is supporting African cities to measure their GDP — a vital economic well-being indicator.

According to an ECA statement yesterday, findings from the pilot initiative for the first time show that between 2015 and 2020, Harare accounted for an average of 38% of Zimbabwe’s GDP, while Accra and Yaoundé’s contributions in Ghana and Cameroon were 36% and 15,7 respectively.

“The GDP estimates will enable a more accurate understanding of the economic weight and performance of cities as well as the design of tailored measures to unlock their full potential,” the ECA said.

“The figures will further help identify priority policy interventions to attract investors, improve competitiveness and strengthen productive economic sectors in cities.”

Presenting the initiative to the inaugural meeting of a regional technical working group, Edlam Yemeru, ECA’s director for the gender, poverty and social policy division said the city’s GDP, despite its immense contribution to national economies, has hardly been measured in Africa consistently to inform policy targeting and investment decisions.

“Working with partners, ECA aims to ensure city GDP estimations are conducted regularly across the region as a means of accessing and harnessing the economic potential and performance of African cities. The establishment of the regional technical working group is of crucial significance in realising these aspirations,” she said.

The regional technical working group comprises of experts from various organisations, including the UN-Habitat, the African Union, the United Cities and local governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa), among others.

The technical working group members will meet regularly to advise on a regional guideline on city GDP estimation in Africa.

The regional guideline, in particular, will be used as a main capacity-building tool to support more African cities in coming up with their GDP estimates.

The initiative — part of a wider ECA effort to support city-level disaggregation of statistics in Africa — will soon be extended to cover Kigali, Lusaka and Lesotho.

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