Zimbabwe will rise
Vince Musewe Towards Vision 2030
“To transform Zimbabwe into a upper middle-income economy, with increased investment, decent jobs, broad-based empowerment, free from poverty and corruption by 2030.”
This is the vision which has been articulated by President Mnangagwa, which we must now embrace as a nation and play our part in making it a reality.
Our main thrust must be to re-invent our country, repackage our vast assets and offer value so that we can attract foreign or local investors.
In fact, we want thousands and thousands of local small companies to be empowered as they participate in the supply chain so that they can create employment and wealth for our entrepreneurs.
We want millions of our citizens to have decent and high-income jobs through the rapid industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe so they can offer their families a quality lifestyle.
In order to achieve the above, we have to attract both private capital by emulating same principles which have made other countries great.
Throughout the history of the now developed economies, there are key principles which they followed and these have led to their success.
These include continuous leadership renewal and accountability underpinned by meritocracy, the rule of law and protection of private property, institutional renewal and delivery, economic freedom and inclusivity, agriculture and industrial revival, human capital preservation and development, effective and efficient resource management, infrastructure rehabilitation and development, the promotion of both domestic and foreign direct investment and lastly citizen empowerment, food security and poverty alleviation.
This week I want to unpack the key economic principles and objectives raised by the President in his inaugural speech on August 26. These include;
Speeding up the efforts to improve the ease and cost of doing business and economic competitiveness.
The promotion of domestic savings in support of the national developmental agenda.
The creation of fiscal space through rationalisation and cost-cutting measures to correct the fiscal imbalances that threaten to undermine the viability of the financial sector as reflected through the spiralling cash shortages and the distortions plaguing the foreign currency exchange market.
The review of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements to promote and encourage investments from across the world.
To expedite and bring to finality the resolution of the country’s external debt arrears under the LIMA Plan.
The acceleration of industrialisation, modernisation and mechanisation, with greater emphasis on market-driven policies.
Implementation of comprehensive strategies to stimulate the value chains across our industries and commerce.
The modernisation of major roads, airports, railways and border posts, including regional and international integration.
Facilitating a more coherent SME framework to strengthen production links across businesses and industry. Concerted efforts will, therefore, be put in place to improve economic efficiencies through the use of appropriate technologies and innovations.
The modernisation and revamping of our social services sector to improve the efficiency and quality of service delivery. To include the refurbishing and construction of health, education and water and sanitation infrastructure.
Expedite the industrialisation process through the setting up of incubation hubs, encouraged innovation and inventions to ensure that our education sector speaks to the present and future socio-economic, technological and scientific needs of our country.
Prioritise the advancement and empowerment of women, youth and the disabled, in every sphere of the economy. Make firm and deliberate efforts to strengthen their capacity to participate in the economy and in governance.
Creating jobs in all sectors of the economy.
Exhibit high principles of professional ethics and integrity. Public sector officials must deliver quality and timely services to the people as well as facilitate business, trade and investment. Bureaucratic bottlenecks, unnecessary delays, lethargic and corrupt activities will not be tolerated.
In the Second Republic, no person or entity will be allowed to steal, loot or pocket that which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe. This requires dealing decisively with corruption.
In order for us to move towards the stated vision, it will be important that we adopt a transformational mindset.
Zimbabweans in general need to take responsibility for creating the circumstances which they desire. This is not the time to complain or to be negative, but to look ahead with a positive mind set which says that Zimbabwe can be great again.
The vision of becoming an (upper) middle-income economy by 2030 must be led by rapid industrialisation and urbanisation.
We must no longer think primary product, but must think of manufacturing things and value-adding in all sectors as we seek to retain value in our country so that we can create higher-income jobs.
We must think of industrial hubs underpinned by free enterprise and economic freedom.
We must think of servicing Africa as our primary market. We must think of regional integration in our infrastructure, ICT, and energy sectors.
In my opinion, for Zimbabwe to truly grow to its full potential, it only takes us to change our attitude. Our rapid growth has to be driven by businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, technicians, innovators and dreamers.
We have to target the growing African middle class with high-end products and not only expect these to be imports from Asia.
This requires that our investment policies be inward-looking as we grow a local vibrant business sector fuelled by our own savings. Entrepreneurship, innovation and risk taking with new ways of creating access to capital are, therefore, key.
At the centre of this must be human capital development. According to the World Bank: “A highly developed human capital base will be the source of competitive advantage in the 21 century global economy.
Human capital, or the education, skill levels and problem-solving abilities will be the competitive advantage of nations because they enable individuals to be innovative and productive in a highly competitive global economy.”
In order to achieve this, we will require high-impact investments in education, science and technology.
A vibrant private sector is key for creating jobs, producing and marketing sophisticated goods and services and latching on to global value chains.
Further, improving the quality and inclusiveness of growth will require more citizen participation and greater accountability from public service providers to offer value for money as well as safety nets to protect the poor from economic and social shocks.
Zimbabwe can certainly leap frog its neighbours through the application of new innovative technologies that increase production volumes and, therefore, exports. Our education policy must, however, match our economic and social developmental objectives.
We must strengthen research institutions to support our developmental priorities, particularly in the agriculture, energy, technology, services and mining sectors.
The rapid expansion in urban populations requires us to urgently improve deteriorating infrastructure, increase service delivery capacity, reduce overcrowding, curtail environmental degradation and reverse acute shortages of housing and productive jobs. These are critical human capital development issues.
Added to this is the necessity to attract Zimbabweans in the Diaspora back home so that they may be involved in the development of the country.
We will need to incentivise them to come back and provide a soft landing for returnees. It is important that we take full advantage of their experiences in and exposure to economic and social systems which are better organised, functional and productive.
We must also focus on increasing our productivity and competitiveness as a country through continuous learning, research and the adoption of new technologies.
This requires that we incentivise companies to continuously train and develop employees and increase their productivity so that we can be a competitive nation.
With regard to creating an enabling environment and a social safety net, our policies must consider a welfare system that is affordable. This new welfare regime must focus on social interventions to assist the marginalised.
The key ingredients for progress are:
Political stability and a democratic government and governance system, backed up by political will. The most important precondition for any economic recovery programme is the political will of government to create a conducive operational environment for both state and non-state actors. This is in line with President Mnangagwa’s stated intentions.
Second, we require improved human and institutional capacity, implying effective implementation of efficient, sustainable and recovery programmes. Zimbabwe has experienced a significant brain drain of skilled manpower over the last decade as the economy, thus weakening the state’s capacity to deliver.
Third, we must establish country-owned macro and sectorial policies which are consistent, well-thought out and inclusive. Our provinces must take responsibility for their own development agendas, especially food security and poverty alleviation. This is in-line with the devolution thrust.
Fourth we must adopt a broad approach to poverty alleviation that highlights the integration of agricultural and industrial policies.
Fifth is that yes, we need aid, but that aid must be well-organised, long-term and matched by and aligned with our developmental strategies.
Lastly, the reduction of our debt obligations is critical to release funds for development. We will need long-term “patient capital” to trigger a new developmental cycle.
It my belief that if we focus on the above issues, we can indeed unlock our potential and become an (upper) middle income economy by 2030.
Zimbabwe will rise!
Vince Musewe is an economist and economic development policy advisor based in Harare. You may contact him on [email protected]