African business, politics and lifestyle
Trust the ingenuity of the Zimbabwean people
All economies, no matter how decrepit, can be revived through good institutions and economic freedom. That said, it is impossible to predict how quickly the people of Zimbabwe will be able to enjoy a notable improvement in their standard of living.
Zimbabwe today is one of the least politically and economically free countries in the world. The speed of Zimbabwe’s social and economic recovery will depend on the speed and extent of reforms.
Of immediate concern to the economic revival is hyperinflation, which will have to be stopped through dollarization or the establishment of a currency board. Taxes will have to be made simpler and lower to encourage productivity, and minimize tax evasion. Trade will have to be liberalized to allow influx of cheap imports to relieve the suffering of the Zimbabwean population. The business environment will have to be made friendly to private entrepreneurs through far-reaching deregulation.
Much will depend on the government’s success in ending political violence in Zimbabwe and restoring property rights or offering compensation to those whose land was expropriated by Mugabe. Respect for the sanctity of people and property will be an important part of a larger, long-term, goal of restoring the rule of law to Zimbabwe. Of course, the above is not an exhaustive list of reforms that the government will have to undertake, but it is a start.
The new government must realize that the future prosperity of Zimbabwe will not be achieved through dollops of foreign aid or micro-management by the World Bank and the IMF. The government should trust the ingenuity of the Zimbabwean people and allow their creative energies to rebuild the country with minimum bureaucratic hindrance.