Sanctions or not, Zimbabwe’s economy must tick

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has to work hard to ensure that the country’s economy is back on its feet despite the economic sanctions imposed by Western powers, including the United States.

While the sanctions, which include trade restrictions and withdrawal of bilateral and multilateral financial support and estimated to have cost the country about US$100 billion, are proving to be a hindrance to economic growth, the government must start thinking outside the box.

It is heartening to note that while addressing a specially convened Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial coordinating committee meeting in Marondera on Saturday, Mnangagwa acknowledged that it was no use mourning about sanctions, suggesting that harnessing local resources for development was the way to go.

“Under the Second Republic, we are about action, action and action; production, production and production, not just talk, we are on the move. We are moving forward, success is now evident, even if some newspapers are desperate to paint a sad picture, we will continue to succeed. In spite of the sanctions, we are delivering visible results. The Transitional Stabilisation Programme has delivered. Successful implementation of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, economic reforms, fiscal discipline and good stewardship to public resources has enabled the government to direct resources towards national development and capital projects,” Mnangagwa said.

However, is spite of Mnangagwa’s optimism in the face of the stark reality that the US has said it will not remove the economic embargoes until the government introduces political reforms that address human rights concerns, the economic success he gushed about must be felt by the ordinary citizens first.

Mnangagwa’s administration could take a leaf from Cuba which was under US economic sanctions since 1959, but is considered one of the most developed economies in Latin America.

Cuba survived the economic embargoes through sound planning, rigorous policy formulation, and implementation in the critical sectors of education and health, including tactical diplomatic manoeuvres, among other strategies. Under its late president Fidel Castro, Cuba concentrated on what it knows best — sugar production for the export market among several other interventions to bust the sanctions.

Zimbabwe is largely an agrarian economy and Mnangagwa seems to have realised that improved production and import substitution is the country’s gateway to economic success.

Good management of this season’s Pfumvudza cereal crop programme and curbing corruption in the agriculture sector could see the country coming out of the economic doldrums it finds itself in.

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