Elita Chikwati and Rejoice Makurira
GOVERNMENT has embarked on a research to establish the economic impact of Western-imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe with the results expected to be used for policy formulation.In its 2013 election manifesto, Zanu-PF estimated that the sanctions cost Zimbabwe US$42 billion in revenue, with former Finance Minister in the inclusive Government, Mr Tendai Biti, saying they contracted the economy by a factor of over 40 percent.
Government has set aside $150 000 for the research that will be carried out by the University of Zimbabwe Consortium in one year.
The research team will be led by economist and chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Zimbabwe, Dr Albert Makochekanwa.
Other members of the team include UZ Dean of Social Studies Professor Charity Manyeruke, Dr Hodson Makurira, Prof Charles Nherera, Dr Mark Nyandoro, Prof Paul Mapfumo and Dr Jokoniya Chirenda from the Faculty of Medicine among others.
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Prof Jonathan Moyo yesterday said the research was purely academic. He said the team would research on the economic impact of sanctions from 2001 to determine the extent to which the various sectors of the economy were affected.
“The focus is on the economic impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe. The real impact of sanctions has not been understood and it is important to engage academics so that we can have a deeper understanding of these sanctions, so that we may be able to make future informed decisions.”
“Since 2001, our country has been under Western-imposed sanctions. The discourse on sanctions has largely been political. There have been political players that have dealt with this question,” he said.
He said although the reality of sanctions had been playing out in the real world of ordinary people, business organisations and education institutions, it had not been systematically analysed, audited and understood.
“It is important for policy intervention not about looking back, but about understanding what has happened to have a basis of making informed policy on the way forward.
“Sanctions belong to the past, but their impact is with us and there have been a number of areas which require interventions.
“The composition of the team shows that we are looking at the real impact. Our role is to facilitate the research and we have no other role,” he said.
Dr Albert Makochekanwa said each faculty from the University of Zimbabwe was represented.
“The group is comprised of 10 selected members, from all the faculties, including deans,” he said.
The findings of the research are expected to be published in several international peer reviewed journals such as African Journal of Economic Policy, South African Journal of Economic History, Journal of Applied Sciences in Southern Africa and Journal of Human Capital.
The ministry called for proposals to carry out the study last year in September and nine proposals were submitted out of which seven met the basic criteria.
Other bids came from Bindura University and Science education, Zimbabwe Open University, Dr Mugano Consultancy, Right Community Development Consultancy, Afro Fair Research, Lupane State University and FEM Research.