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'23 years of sanctions embolden Zimbabwe'

by Staff reporter
13 Feb 2024 at 23:39hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE'S story is that of resilience, innovation, people-centred policies and the undying resolve to defeat illegal Western sanctions that have continued to pound the country for over 23 years.

Today, Zimbabwe is the fastest growing economy in the Southern African region, one of the few countries in Africa to achieve wheat self-sufficiency, and has an ever-improving standard of living as well as increased registration of patents, start-ups and new industries.

These achievements in the face of great odds were unpacked here by President Mnangagwa in his address to the World Governments Summit early yesterday.

The World Governments Summit, running under the theme "Shaping Future Governments", is a platform to identify innovative solutions for future challenges.

Discussions involve governments, international organisations, thought leaders, and private sector leaders from around the globe.

"Since the advent of the Second Republic, in 2018, the Government of Zimbabwe has implemented multi-pronged strategies for sustainable development, economic growth and a higher quality of life that leaves no one and no place behind.

"Due to the illegal sanctions imposed on our country, Zimbabwe has no lines of credit from International Financial Institutions. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we resolved to be innovative and leverage our own domestic resources to drive a sustainable, realistic and achievable people-centred development agenda. Our National Vision and National Development Strategy outlines the national strategic objective being the realisation of an upper middle-income economy by 2030," the President said.

"Stability is being pursued through complementary channels namely, fiscal prudence; tight monetary policy; currency reforms; and long-term investment. To this end, Government has maintained budget deficits of no more than 1.5 percent of GDP per annum. Our Central Bank continues to maintain positive real interest rates thereby discouraging excessive borrowing, consumption and speculative behaviour.

"The post-2018 period has seen my Government adopt innovative financial ingenuity to back the domestic currency with a stable and globally priced asset such as gold."

The President further outlined how his Government is investing in sustainable economic growth through its infrastructural investment programme.

The Second Republic has transformed the country in a short period through massive infrastructure projects that are attracting foreign investment, creating jobs and improving the standard of living.

"Over the period 2021 and 2023, Zimbabwe experienced strong economic growth rate averaging 6.8 percent, to become the fastest growing economy in the Southern African region.

"To ensure sustainability and growth, an inclusive stakeholder approach, the decentralisation of Government services and introduction of e-Government have provided a sound base for accelerating value chain transformation.

"This has also helped to reduce public expenditure, entrench public sector accountability, and nurture transparency and quality service delivery," President Mnangagwa said.

He said as a natural resource rich country, Zimbabwe will continue to anchor growth on agriculture and mining.

The two major sectors of the economy are key contributors to export earnings, employment creation and stimulate the manufacturing sector.

In the face of challenges brought about by global warming, President Mnangagwa said the Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Transformation Strategy has seen rapid development in the agriculture sector.

"The agricultural sector grew by 4.1 percent in 2020, 17.5 percent in 2021 and 6.2 percent in 2022.

"Resultantly, Zimbabwe is now food secure and one of the two countries in Africa which has realised wheat self-sufficiency. This firm foundation has resulted in export growth, enhanced agro-industrialisation, increased employment and a higher standard of living for the predominantly rural population," he said.

President Mnangagwa also told the summit of the success of the climate-proved agriculture model – Pfumvudza/Intwasa – which has benefited millions of rural farmers and peri-urban beneficiaries.

He also touched on dam construction at national level as well as the development of modern irrigation systems.

"With regards to financing, my Government has adopted innovative financing models to facilitate the growth of specific agriculture value-chains. Over and above the climate-proofed input support scheme to vulnerable rural households, an institutionalised government-guaranteed financing model provides credit to commercial farmers," the President said.

As part of a rapidly changing world, the President said, Zimbabwe is re-imagining future societies, anchored on education systems with a bias towards science.

"As such, Zimbabwe saw it fit to adopt policies and an education curriculum that fosters scientific and technological innovations which drive the growth of industries and provide solutions to address challenges faced by our societies.

"We have realigned the education curriculum, based on our unique country realities and resource endowments which gave birth to Heritage Based Education 5.0. Philosophy. This leverages on science and technology development to deliver relevant goods and services," he said.

"Through this model, Zimbabwe increased the registration of patents, start-ups and new industries. The new corps of innovators, inventors, and techno-preneurs are not only answering the socio-economic problems faced by our communities and the economy but also harnessing the immense opportunities that are present in our resource rich country."

The President used the example of the country's successful launch of its first satellite Zim-Stat1 through the Zimbabwe National Geospatial and Space Agency, as evidence of a re-imagined education system.

Turning to the health sector, the President said the country had made tremendous strides towards universal health coverage and quality health delivery, despite illegal sanctions.

"In this respect, investments continue to focus on the construction and rehabilitation of health facilities, procurement of modern medical equipment and provision of essential drugs and pharmaceuticals.

"These interventions have seen the reduction in morbidity and mortality, improved reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health," he said.

The President acknowledged the support Zimbabwe has received from partners, friendly countries and regional and international blocs, before inviting new friends in line with his open foreign policy stance.

"As I conclude, I want to state that much more work needs to be done, however, Zimbabwe remains emboldened by the hurdles we have overcome in the past 23 years of sanctions. We are grateful for the support, solidarity, trade, investment and partnership we have always received from our Southern African region as well as progressive members and partners in the comity of nations.

"We look forward to more of you, joining Zimbabwe on our exciting and unfolding journey towards the realisation of our national aspirations of a modern, prosperous and empowered society with a high quality of life," he said.

The World Governments Summit ends today and President Mnangagwa is expected to continue meeting investors and UAE government officials who have shown serious interest in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa also had interviews with foreign media organisations, where he spoke on opportunities presented by the summit. He said countries could share experiences on climate change, artificial intelligence (AI) and governance systems.

On AI he said governments have "no choice but to embrace technology" and on mitigating the effects of climate change he cited the construction of dams under the Second Republic.

Source - The Chronicle