‘The Jewel Of Africa’
“Zimbabwe has lagged behind in many areas as a result of isolation for the past 16, 18 years. Now we are saying to the world: Zimbabwe is open for business,” Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa
In January 2018, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Mnangagwa announced that Zimbabwe was open for business again, abandoning all isolationist policies in order to revolutionise the nation’s economy and build up the country to its full potential. President Mnangagwa administration’s focus lies in providing a stable political environment, while improving ease of business and reinforcing agricultural, mining, ICT and tourism sectors. “We are re-engaging with the world, making friends and moving towards development,” emphasises Vice President General Constantino Chiwenga. In order to enhance ease of doing business, the government has implemented several legal, institutional and administrative reforms, such as the National Investment Policy while establishing the one-stop shop Investment Centre. Minister of Finance, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa elaborates, “under the new dispensation we are also reforming state enterprises, we believe that any growth must be private-sector-driven.”
Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector accounts for 50 % of employment in the country’s GDP as well as 25 % of total annual exports. The government aims to continue its food self-sufficiency by increasing utilisation of the land and productivity through mechanisation and modernisation of the sector.
Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum and chrome deposits, and an immense wealth with over 60 minerals and 800 mines with a capacity to earn US$18 billion per annum. The new dispensation is intent on ensuring investor friendly mining policies and consequently has been rapidly growing its economy with mining investors as major players. The recently signed US$ 4.2 billion platinum investment agreement by Karo Resources is the largest investment in Zimbabwe’s mining to date and will directly create 15,000 jobs.
The development of ICT infrastructure and harnessing of technology-driven innovation in all sectors of the economy has been key to the development of the economy. The National Backbone Optic Fibre Project led to the construction of The TelOne Data Centre, a powerful and reliable information nerve centre that ensures the efficiency and data security of enterprise operations. “We are building an infrastructure that we can then use for everything that requires technology. We think this is important, not only for providing communication platforms for the community, but more significantly for financial inclusion,” explains Minister of ICT Supa Mandiwanzira.
The Zimbabwean National Tourism Master Plan seeks to boost foreign and domestic tourism while leveraging private-sector led investment to maximise the country’s numerous tourist attractions and natural wonders. “Tourism accounts for about 11.9 percent of the national GDP but we think its contribution can grow up to 15 percent,” states Managing Director of Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Dr Karikoga Kaseke. The Ministry of Tourism has allocated a US$15 million Revolving fund to facilitate tourist activities.
UNVEILING THE JEWEL
Zimbabwe’s shift from a closed economy to an open, productive and peaceful one has rapidly had its effect on the country. President Mnangagwa’s vision is optimistic, convincing and transparent. “We have the qualities and the environment in which this country can be a jewel again. We must build the Zimbabwe that we want. Let us be united and peaceful, but let us be honest: hard work is the only key to achieve that vision.”