African business, politics and lifestyle
Recovery possible in three years
The signing of an agreement between Robert Mugabe’s ZanuPF party and the two formations of the MDC marks the beginning of an exciting period in the political history of Zimbabwe. The national economy has been devastated by, inter alia, disastrous political and economic policies formulated and implemented by the Mugabe regime. Fortunately, most of the development and economic infrastructure still remains largely intact, and the Zimbabwean economy could recover from the current meltdown in a fairly short time.
Zimbabweans are reputed to be hard-working people. Although many highly skilled Zimbabweans have since left the country for greener pastures both in the region and further afield, the country still boasts a highly skilled labour force.
There is also significant goodwill from several developed countries, and some of them have already promised to provide significant amounts of money to assist Zimbabwe in its economic recovery programme.
The major political party, the MDC, has devised a very promising economic recovery and rehabilitation programme for the transitional period. It is my considered view that if that programme is effectively implemented, the Zimbabwean economy could recover within as short a period as two to three years. Part of the MDC’s RESTART programme seeks to attract both domestic and foreign direct investment in order to revive previously existing industries as well as expand the ones that are currently operating at 25% to 30% of their original capacity. The RESTART programme also seeks to encourage as many skilled Zimbabweans as possible to return home and help in re-building the shattered economy.
Several development co-operation agencies have already indicated their interest in resuming or renegotiating appropriate development assistance programmes with the new and inclusive government of Zimbabwe. The RESTART programme will also focus on the revival of the crucial agricultural sector by, for example, creating a land commission to examine such matters as multiple land holding practices, under-utilisation of arable land, and the critical shortage of agricultural inputs. The restoration of a vibrant agricultural sector will re-energise the Zimbabwean economy to recovery in a very short time, indeed.