The Sunday Mail
GOVERNMENT should intensify re-engagement with the West and pursue trade with fellow African countries, Latin America and Asia to counter and minimise the damaging impact of sanctions, a study by local researchers has recommended.
A team of researchers from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) commissioned by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development two years ago, to assess the impact of sanctions, isolated up to 13 different socio-economic spheres which have been adversely stymied by the embargo.
The research team, led by the UZ’s economics department chair, Dr Albert Makochekanwa, suggests that a strict adherence to property rights and respect of individual freedoms would minimise conflicts with the West.
The 600-page report, which was submitted to President Mnangagwa during the recent anti-sanctions march, recommends the strengthening of anti-corruption bodies and the efficient deployment of resources by Government.
“With regards to reducing negative impacts on trade and finance, manufacturing and tourism, the findings show that the Look East policy alone was not sufficient to fight the negative impact of sanctions despite significantly lessening sanctions damages,” reads part of the report.
The report states that in order to supplement the Look East Policy, the Government needs to extend its diversification in terms of foreign partners, foreign markets and exported commodities.
“Intensification of trade with other African countries and expansion of foreign markets to include South America and other Asian countries, which are not traditional trading partners of Zimbabwe, is a crucial strategy by the Government to reduce sanctions impact.
“The study also recommends that the Government should re-engage the previous markets which were abandoned as a result of sanctions in order to create external demand for the country’s products and services such as tourism, beef and horticulture.”
The researchers identified corruption and poor governance systems as major ingredients for the exercebation of the sanctions.
President Mnangagwa’s administration has already intensified the fight against graft while governance systems are being recalibrated in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (STP).
“Despite having negative impacts on all sectors, sanctions impacts have been magnified by other factors such as poor management, corruption and inconsistent Government policies,” reads the report.
The study recommends that the new political administration addresses the root cause of bad governance and violation of rights and liberties. Already, Government plans to introduce a raft of constitutional and legislative reforms to deepen civil liberties, individual rights, and entrench political and electoral reforms. The report highlighted the need for more home-grown solutions to the economic challenges besetting the country.
It identified academics and research scientists as crucial in championing local solutions to current challenges.
According to the researchers, sanctions have impacted on all facets of the economy ranging from trade and finance, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture to human capital development and migration among others.
Other researchers on the team included Prof Hodson Makurira, Prof Charity Manyeruke, Prof Paul Mapfumo, Mr Carren Pindiriri, Dr Nyasha Kaseke, Dr Mark Nyandoro, Eng Elisha Mabunda, Mr Kudzai Musiwa, Eng Emmanuel Rashayi, Prof Simon Mukwembi, Prof Charles Nherera, Dr Joconiah Chirenda, Dr Jacob Gusha, Prof Ezra Chitando and Dr Tarisai Mutangi.
The research was meant to determine the extent to which various sectors of the economy have been affected by the illegal embargo.