Uhuru: Economy takes centre stage

Zimbabwe’s economy is beginning to show signs of recovery and the populace has every reason to celebrate the country’s Independence with a difference under the new dispensation, economists say.

They concur that Independence celebrations had been reduced to a “pastime” as the economy reeled from years of neglect and sanctions. Experts say all indicators point towards stabilisation and consolidation, before real growth and development would be achieved amid greater investor confidence.

They added that measures being implemented by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Government to improve the economy, and the message of unity for development, were at the heart of this year’s Uhuru celebrations.

Zimbabwe will celebrate its 38th Independence Day under a new executive leader for the first time. Since late 2017, President Mnangagwa’s administration has been introducing a set of measures, including amending the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act as well as cutting Government expenditure, to stabilise the economy.

Ease of doing reforms are also being implemented resulting in over US$3 billion worth of investment commitments from international investors being recorded.

A recently published report by the World Bank titled “Doing Business 2018: Reforming to create jobs”, applauded Government for eliminating cumbersome process of registering businesses.

The new Government has also been on a global charm offensive to re-engage Zimbabwe with the international community.

Economic expert Dr Gift Mugano said it was refreshing to see signs of revival.

“Since 1998 up to last year, the economy was in a bad shape. No investor would come and invest in Zimbabwe given its world rankings,” he said.

The World Bank ranks Zimbabwe on position 159 out of 190 countries with respect to ease of doing business.

Added Dr Mugano: “Even those who were doing business in Zimbabwe, they were not operating freely. Foreign direct investment was around $320 million.

“This new dispensation has brought a new lease of life. Foreign direct investment is over $3 billion, and recently we signed deals worth more than $4 billion.

“In Cote d’Ivoire, the Afreximbank president said about $1,5 billion had been arranged as guarantee facilities to support businesses interested in investing in Zimbabwe. This shows the confidence that other institutions and countries are beginning to have in Zimbabwe.

“As we go into Independence we can celebrate that the giant is rising. We are hopeful the economy is on the rebound. Even on the political side, there is also so much to celebrate. Zimbabwe has been receiving countries and organisations that we had last engaged more than 15 years ago.

“This is a positive signal and shows that the President is walking the talk on the issue of free and fair elections.”

Another economic expert, Mr Christopher Mugaga, said there was need for President to preach unity and peace at Independence celebrations.

“For the first time, Zimbabwe will have a new executive President on Independence celebrations. It is an opportunity to tell the world how as a country we have grown and learnt from our mistakes,” he said.

“It is a time for reconciliation, a time to show the world that despite our differences we can work together. The President must however walk the talk on all policies that have been introduced to stabilise the economy.

“Issues such as externalisation of money should be dealt with accordingly. Investors respect a country which is transparent and is guided by the law.”

Recently, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the economy would grow six percent by year-end compared to the initial forecast of 4,5 percent due to Government’s reforms.

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