‘Rapid industrialisation key to economic growth’
Rapid industrialisation is key in promoting economic growth, creating employment and nurturers a cycle of sustainable development in any economy, a cabinet minister has said.In Zimbabwe industrialisation is being spearheaded through a number of policies notably, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), National Industrial Development Policy, at SADC, COMESA as well as the African Union Agenda 2063.
Addressing delegates during commemorations of the Africa Industrialisation Day 2016 in the capital yesterday themed “Financing Industrialisation in Africa: Challenges and Winning Strategies, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha said the continent was very rich with all resources that were needed in the industrialisation process but most were being exported in raw form, leaving countries vulnerable to dictates of the global commodity prices.
“This is a bad deal for Africa and we have to change that scenario. By exporting raw materials, Africa is exporting jobs that are critically needed at home. Agriculture remains the back bone of our economy, and as such the policies that we put in place encourage value addition and beneficiation. The process is not yet sufficient to make a significant impact on the continent’s growth performance and industrial competitiveness but the seeds of hope have been planted,” he said.
Minister Bimha said agro-industrialisation had great potential for Africa to achieve more rapid and inclusive growth as well as creating jobs. He said the agriculture sector generated four times more employment than any other.
“The theme of today’s celebrations brings us to the component that is challenging in our industrialisation programmes and most countries have limited fiscal space and the liquidity is tight,” he said.
“In our case, Government has come up with initiatives of supporting ailing companies with financial resources. Such initiatives include the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (DiMAF) and the Zimbabwe Economic and Trade Revival Facility (ZETREF). The initiatives have met some challenges and Government has now engaged financial institutions to manage the ZETREF programme,” he said.
In an effort to escalate the industrialisation process, Bimha said the Government had put in place support measures to enable companies to re-tool and prepare them to compete internationally.
“I am happy to inform that some of the sectors have started to show positive results. The recent Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) manufacturing survey, has shown that there has been an increase in the weighted capacity utilisation from 34,3 percent to 47,4 percent within the period 2015 to 2016,” he said.
Some of the products whose industries have had increases in capacity utilisation are those being supported by Government through Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, he said.
“The issue of utilities continues to affect operations of our industries especially the energy sector but Zimbabwe is making strides towards improving this sector. The Zim-Asset policy through one of its clusters, is encouraging investment in this area and that of infrastructure development in order to support the industrialisation processes,” he said.
“The transformation policies that are being championed at local, regional and continental levels are all geared to move Africa from being an exporter of unprocessed raw materials to one that is exporting value added manufactured goods,” said Minister Bimha. – New Ziana.