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Rural transformation is key for sustainable development in Zimbabwe

07 Jan 2019 at 20:42hrs | Views
( A academic research paper to be utilised by public & private sector)

As a development practitioner, I have a role to play to ensure we contribute positively towards economic growth and national development. We have a 2023 middle class agenda and generally the conclusion is only urban populace will contribute immensely towards economic growth.

Sustainable development is defined as economic development that is conducted without depletion of natural resources. It is the development that meets the needs of the present , without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Zimbabwe has to grow the economy by 14.7% towards the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP), if they consider rural transformation. There is massive potential in rural areas other than Agriculture, we have diversification of economic activities. Our major blunder is the focus on urban economic activities leaving out rural population. There is great potential if utilised and put into proper use. With that vision in mind ( 2023 ,middle class economic agenda), small holder farmers have enormous potential to contribute to sustainable development and food security. Realising this potential will require increasing productivity, as well as improving access of rural people to markets , finance , technology and information to build more diversified and resilient rural economies.

Poverty has multiple dimensions

Poverty has multiple undesirable dimensions that go beyond low levels of income , consumption and material assets. Rural transformation , a sustainable and comprehensive level of change that is social as well as economic. In a community that continues to be beset by political intolerance and instability, the links between sustainable and equitable rural transformation and the building of peaceful communities in Zimbabwe cannot be ignored.

Rural people & Small holders play a key economic role

The above mentioned section of rural society, play a key role in achieving the projected economic target of 2023 middle class economy. The concept will outline rural folks as the main target and reducing rural- urban inequalities, can help to achieve , sustainable development and eradicate poverty and hunger.

Economic diversification in the rural community can contribute towards Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) of Zimbabwe. This goes in line with the concept of devolution and decentralisation of power, were power will be transferred from central Governance to the provincial Councils. There is need for innovation in production, modern technology and expanded access to modern supply chains are key features of rural transformation. There is need to address unequal power relations , social exclusion and access to a range of productive assets as part of strategies to address persistent poverty. The main entry point for scaling up the best practises and increasing sustainability, such as public goods that increase connectivity between rural and urban areas. Inclusive and fair tenure systems , youth engagement in productive activities , and access to inclusive social protection systems , quality education and health systems and risk management mechanism. There is need also target Women's empowerment and strengthen traditional governance institutions.

Diversified incomes, new opportunities

As the demand of agro-based products is on the rise in Zimbabwe, opportunities continue to expand , rural communities can enhance and diversify their incomes , provided that the right policies and investments are in place. Public institutions, key ministries , Government departments must continue playing a leading role in increasing sustainability, innovation and calling the best.

Do away with food handouts and free inputs

It is not ideal to give people free handouts and inputs. When hunger surfaces, they come back to bite you. The best you can do for rural community is to empower them. There must be proper legal , social and economic frameworks which must address basic fundamentals of economic concepts which will benefit both Government and other key players. We have suppliers of fertilisers, inputs and other basic so what basically the Government must do is to facilitate economic deals which must have economic targets and concepts.

Information centres

Such is important to enhance Development. You can not define development without information. Information is economic and plays a key role in providing sustainable development and achieving the best for our economy. Mostly there is public outrage that rural population is left out in key economic decisions. One of the best ways of transforming rural areas is to establish information centres which will be used for research, development, economic projections and setting out economic agenda of any given area.


Whatever structural transformation does not automatically lead to reducing poverty, the structural programmes for small holders, are necessary to achieve poverty production but it is not a sufficient element. Rural development strategies must be context specific. A new rural development framework should have multi- sectorial policies focusing on rural industry and service, and rural urban linages in addition to Agriculture. Rural transformation is not all about agriculture, there are several diversification in the main stream economy leading to growth. It should involve multiple stakeholders such as national and local governments , the private sector and local communities. The scale of challenge in terms of increasing and improving jobs is immense. By broadly envisioning Agriculture as a entire food system including the whole value chain and other aspects such as nutrition, the Agriculture sector can be a big engine in reducing poverty. The Government of Zimbabwe must ensure linkages of small holders to market systems as key and also creating opportunities in different economic sectors.

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo writes in his personal capacity as an academic and Project management Consultant, he is also a Policy Maker , he is studying PhD ( Doctoral Degree in International Development), at Women's University of Africa. He holds a BA from Solusi University, MA Solusi University, He holds a MA in Development studies from University of Lusaka in Zambia. He holds a certificate in Project management from University of Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at

Source - Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
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