By Tinashe Mukori
Since the coming in of the Second Republic ushered in by Operation Restore Legacy in 2017, Zimbabwe has undergone tremendous transitions through a systematic, deliberate introduction and implementation of a raft of reforms under the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP) Reforms Agenda followed successively by the current National Development Strategy Phase One (NDS1), all in pursuit of Vision 2030 that seeks to fulfill the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe by making it an upper middle-income economy by then and beyond.
The auspicious, inclusive and transformative trajectory that the nation has taken under the astute and shrewd leadership of HE President Mnangagwa is such that even those in the Diaspora who had never thought they could start thinking and talking about going back home soon are suddenly doing so.
I personally have had situations whereby most of my countrymen reach out to me through my social media handles to request information on how they can join the ruling ZANU-PF Party in the Diaspora soon after coming back from home.
All of them are consistent in their reasons why they would want to join ZANU PF. They all cite increased confidence in the new administration as a result of tangible, perceptible strides and achievements being witnessed on the ground in all sectors of the economy.
Their observations are further elaborated upon by the positive Economic Outlook Reports on Zimbabwe by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, who both indicated that our GDP is likely to grow by 6% and 3.9% respectively.
The Minister of Finance Hon. Mthuli maintains that our economy is poised to grow by a whopping 7.4%. It was also recently reported that Zimbabwe’s economy is growing faster than any other in the whole region.
As if that does not suffice, Zimbabwe is constantly being applauded for a sterling performance in mitigation measures and vaccination programs against the ravaging covid-19 pandemic world over.
The first to publicly praise Źimbabwe was South Africa’s EFF opposition leader Julius Malema followed by Julian Hill, an Australian MP. All this follows a showering of plaudits by the World Health Organization who recognized and acknowledged exceptional management skills by Harare!
Furthermore, most Zimbabweans have started to understand and appreciate that ZANU-PF is the only principled,value-oriented revolutionary party, formed as a mass national organisation, with a traceable history of championing the everlasting, enduring aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe through fostering a shared national vision.
It has started to dawn on many people mostly the youth, that ZANU-PF is the only ideologically sound political party driven by the overarching desire to economically liberate and entrust our vast natural resources in the hands of the majority and empower them to be masters of their own destiny.
It is the only political party that continues to champion and is desirous of espousing unity, true national dialogue, inclusiveness, tolerance, hard work, and de-escalation of polarisation among our people.
The all-inclusive, all-embracing, ever listening and servant leadership of President Mnangagwa has managed to thaw the hearts of many Zimbabweans to buy in the great vision of making Zimbabwe great again!
Now, it is vital to meticulously recognise the complicated circumstances in which such tremendous progress is taking shape. For almost two decades now, Zimbabwe has been subjected to and reeled under the blows of illegal economic sanctions.
Their imposition brought negative publicity, rendered us a pariah state tag, and made it difficult for us to trade freely and fairly on the global market. The sanctions led to serious disinvestment and de-industrialization of our economy with severe negative consequences on the welfare and wellbeing of our people.
The sole purpose for their imposition was to make the economy scream and separate the people of Zimbabwe from the ruling ZANU-PF and its Government, and this was according to Chester Crocker, a Former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs,US Department of State on 13 June 2000 when they were lobbying for the enactment of ZDERA Act.
However, after winning the elections in July 2018, ZANU-PF government led by President E.D Mnangagwa categorically vowed to turn things around despite the sanctions. The engagement and re-engagement policy led the offensive in integrating our nation in the community of nations, eliminating bad publicity and a pariah state tag.
This engagement started internally when His Excellency called for all those who participated in the 2018 plebiscite to come to a national dialogue table to cross-pollinate patriotic ideas and synchronise visions for the good of the country. The framework and modalities of this national dialogue were not on the basis of numbers but ideas. This initiative culminated into what we call POLAD today.
A lot still needs to be done but this has been working very well. Zimbabwe is Open for Business reforms has seen many investors, both foreign and local, trickling in to invest in various sectors of the economy.
The operationalisation of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) is poised to improve the ease of doing business and create an investor-friendly environment.
In fact,the ease of doing business index for Zimbabwe increased progressively from 47.79 scores in 2017 to 54.47 score in 2020 growing at an average annual rate of 3.36%!. Industries are already being resuscitated and capacitated. Local production is increasing with almost 80% of goods in our retail shops locally produced, resulting in a reduced import bill.
The economic reforms both fiscal and monetary so far implemented under TSP managed to stabilize the economy and eliminate runaway inflation. Fiscal consolidation and austerity measures implemented, even though painful, managed to help reduce government expenditure and direct most of the funds towards the productive sector.
Electricity is no longer as erratic as it used to be. Power stations are being expanded and the government continues to work with private players in the energy and power generation industry to augment national energy requirements. For instance, Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion is now at more 65% complete.
The President recently said load shedding should be a forgotten word in a few years to come in Zimbabwe when he officiated at ZESA Enterprises Transformer Manufacturing Plant, ZENT, in Southerton, Harare.
At this rate, Zimbabwe will be a net exporter of electricity if its new coal mines and power project plans are respectively utilized and implemented sagaciously by 2023!
The country is enjoying food security after an extremely successful 2020/2021 farming season that tripped the 2019/2020 harvest from 908 thousand metric tonnes to approximately a 2.8million metric tonnes of maize. Across the board, there was a whopping 189% increase in food crop production for the 2020/2021 farming season.
The government immediately moved in to ban the import of maize that was gobbling nearly USD300 million per year. Being food secure is one of the most vital, cardinal elements in the wellbeing of a nation.
Numerous roads and infrastructural developments are taking place in the country. Bridges are being constructed. The government is seized with improving the conditions of our roads nationwide.
The launch of the second phase of Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme( ERRP2) at the commissioning of Karanda Bridge on 15 April 2021 is an indication of the commitment by the ZANU-PF government to radically transform the state of our roads both in towns and rural areas.
Massive roadworks are being carried out.
Our farmers continue to be climate-proofed through the continued erection of modernized, advanced irrigation infrastructure and construction of dams across the country. The government is investing heavily in smart climate-proofing infrastructure. The dams being constructed not only provide water for agricultural purposes but also for drinking in addition to food production.
The most recent ZIMVAC assessment report indicated that access to clean water is very high among Zimbabweans. This is a result of deliberate drilling efforts by the ZANU-PF government. This is quite commendable even though improvement is imperative!
Vast opportunities abound in the mining sector. Of note is that the largest production of gold is being done by artisanal small-scale miners who number between 500 000 to 1.5 million across the country. The government is set to regularise and formalise its claims.
Investment opportunities are in mining research and exploration, production, machinery funding and buying and selling, and its attendant knots in the beneficiation and value-added supply chain.
Big companies like Invictus Energy which is pushing for a million-acre oilfield and Prospect Resources Ltd which commissioned its Acadia Lithium pilot plant a week ago are signs of an awakening giant that seeks to establish a USD12 billion mining economy by 2023.
In addition, a subsidiary of Tsingshang Holdings Group, Afrochine’s ferrochrome project in Chivhu is expected to be the biggest operation of its kind and probably the largest in the SADC region. All this speaks to increased confidence in the investment environment which comes with more jobs.
There is a lot happening and anyone can choose how he/she wants to get involved in this whole emerging economic ecosystem. The beauty of it is that the government, through devolution, is genuinely preoccupied with advertising and making these lucrative opportunities known to all locals, advancing a job creator mentality instead of job seeker disposition.
Women and youth involvement in empowerment programmes have become more pronounced with the President asserting that they have to be prioritized even in land allocations.
Empower Bank went around provinces educating young people on how to come up with bankable business plans. Women are likewise being empowered. The National Venture Capital Company is being operationalized with the sole purpose of building the capacity of local entrepreneurs who forms, since time immemorial the engine for future economic growth.
The Government is finally operationalising the fund to assist entrepreneurs with capital, which is a much welcome development.
Now with the existence of ZIDA, entrepreneurs can easily form and register companies even from the Diaspora with ease.
There is a lot that is happening on the ground back home that we cannot exhaust here and to those in the Diaspora who have not yet started looking homewards to invest, it’s high time.
No one is being left behind. The fact that pastors, musicians and footballers among many well-meaning Zimbabweans seek and are given an audience with the President shows that most people are buying in the great vision the ruling ZANU-PF government has for the country.
Not so long ago, the famous defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba of Aston Villa jetted into the country with Dexter Blackstock, CEO of Mediconnect, accompanied by Ambassador-at-large to the Americans and Europe, Uebert Angel.
They visited the State House and indicated their intention to invest in the country. Many other Zimbabweans are doing the same, going back home to invest. Make hay while the sun shines.
Be part of the palatable goodness manifesting in the country of milk and honey!No doubt,a bright future beckons for Zimbabwe!
It is time!
Tinashe Mukori writes in his personal capacity. He is the Zanu-PF Cape district spokesperson.
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