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Zimbabwe economic revival: none but ourselves

06 Feb 2019 at 10:25hrs | Views
"Government must create jobs for us, we want our hospitals to be top notch medical facilities, we want to eat what we want anytime, there is no bread on the shelves, all our roads should be tarred, have complex road/rail crossings, bullet trains and airports at district level". These are the sentiments that one hears every day in streets, kombis and places of recreation.

To complicate matters, the International Development Committee (IDC) has thrown into disarray President Emmerson Mnangagwa's efforts at re-engaging the international community and rejoining the Commonwealth. In a meeting held in London on 5 February 2019 to assess the alleged military crackdown in Zimbabwe, Britain's minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin pointed out that Britain supported an extension of European Union (EU) sanctions against Zimbabwe and that it would not endorse Zimbabwe's readmission into the Commonwealth.

Everyone wants the best in life whether they put an effort or not. Some even go to the extent of calling for the invasion of Zimbabwe by the United States (US) all for a cosy life. All that glitters is not gold people should work and sweat for their luxurious living.

People should first of all understand how the Zimbabwean economy works. Our economy is agriculturally based with mining significantly contributing to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). On top of this, the country is blessed with a rich human capital with expertise in various fields and a cool literacy rate of  92 percent, which means that the majority of the population can read and write and have the ability to carry out simple instructions.

Other people are crying that the country is failing to attract enough Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to resuscitate the country's economy. The violent demonstrations which rocked Zimbabwe's major cities and towns on 14 and 15 January 2019 contributed in increasing Zimbabwe's country risk making it not a safe haven for potential investors.

Some are talking about how learned they are and which schools and universities they attended. To be honest these are mere paper qualifications which cannot deliver on their own unless the bearers agree to put the shoulder to the wheel. One netizen, Manhanzva Tichaona posted on his Facebook wall that "The British educational system is colonial no wonder why the so called educated Zimbabweans are destroying Zimbabwe begging for the British masters to develop this country for them! Zimbabwe is suffering because of these zombies, the new curriculum will decolonise the minds of our kids and only then shall this country begin to have a free people and a self-determined people who will build Zimbabwe. Sadly, the future generation will have to start from zero as this mentally-colonised generation will bequeath nothing to posterity. They are just sanctions-beggars and looters! Lazy people who wait for Americans and British to bring them $15 billion loaded in trucks to run Zimbabwe. Government has done well to introduce the new curriculum".

To revive the country's economy, it will take all Zimbabweans to do the necessary work which will see the country getting back on its economic feet again. Two resources - land and minerals - have the potential to turn around the country's economic fortunes if fully exploited.

Government embarked on the Land Reform Programme (LRP) which saw at least 237 858 households benefiting from land covering some 7 million hectares in 2000. With this land, the country should now move away from importing food such as maize grain. An exception should be for the hard wheat variety which the country cannot produce due to climatic conditions.

The economy could be turned around by growing maize, tobacco, wheat, barley, sugar beans, soya beans, cotton and fruits. Rearing of livestock such as beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry is another agricultural arm.

In 2018 tobacco experts earned the country US$920 million after the country harvested more than 250 million kilogrammes surpassing the 236 million kilogrammes achieved in 2000. The foreign currency from tobacco earnings would be used to import electricity, medical drugs and fuel.

When agricultural production has been boosted, downstream and allied industries such as engineering firms, fertiliser manufacturers, pesticide producers, food processing plants, implement and equipment manufacturers as well as fuel suppliers, will be revived. Now the honours lies with land reform programme beneficiaries who should fully utilise their farms and create employment in the process.

No one could have put this matter more rightly than Seed-Co agronomist, John Basera who said: "Africa is at crossroads. One road leads to subsistence farming, low productivity, poverty and food imports of above US$35 billion year. The other to irrigation development, smallholder farmer commercialisation, productivity growth, food security, surplus and exports. This is the road to take. It begins with all of us".

Mining is another sector which the country could rely on for economic revival. In 2018, the country's gold deliveries to Fidelity Printers and Refiners stood at an all high of 33.3 tonnes above the 1999 annual output of 27 tonnes. Most of the gold came from artisanal miners who use picks and shovels as their major tools. The country could also leverage on its vast strategic mineral resources which include diamond, platinum, iron, coal and chrome as well as natural gas. By embarking on value addition, the minerals will fetch higher prices unlike exporting them in their raw state as is currently the case with minerals such as platinum.

Source - Elijah Chihota
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