The era of ED-nomics begins

03 Dec, 2017 - 00:12 0 Views
The era of ED-nomics begins

The Sunday Mail

Dr Gideon Gono
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration speech was in a class of its own in terms of vision, strategy and content.

The President showed a clear, firm grasp of economics with his dose of what I would call “EDNomics”, proudly showing the world that here is a new Zimbabwe that is ready and open for business.

The wide-ranging delivery covered local, regional, continental and international politics, diplomacy, societal niceties and the hard stuff — corruption, indiscipline and lawlessness.

I particularly liked the Dengism philosophy which he merged with his appeal to investors to come from all corners of the world.

Now that is pragmatism in the mould of China’s former leader, Deng Xiaoping, who upon assuming leadership of China in the 1970s declared: “I do not care the colour of the cat, black or white … so long as it catches mice!”

China’s illustrious growth today owes its genesis and greatness to that statement.

I was particularly pleased, too, that the President mentioned special economic zones, promising to accelerate their establishment countrywide “in order to attract investment and generate increased exports, jobs and stimulate economic growth”.

That statement alone, together with everything else he said, will get this economy flying to double digit growth rates with potential to propel this country to the levels of the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea and others in a very short space of time given our natural resources and literacy levels.

The SEZs thrust is the way to go.

I have just returned from a study tour of China’s SEZs and what I and my colleagues saw there is out of this world.

The President also devoted adequate space to the importance of financial sector stability, which is very crucial to our economic take-off.

More importantly, he did not leave out agriculture as the backbone of this economy.

He also talked about farm productivity and Command Agriculture.

Now, what more would a simple person like me who is retired, maybe “tired and expired too”, want to hear besides that?

I also liked the part when he talked about bureaucratic sloth; his detest of indecision in Government on the back of perennial excuses, unending procedures, shuffling paperwork from one office to another and a thousand other excuses that do not promote our economic turnaround.

He said it can’t “be business as usual”! Now, that’s serious leadership.

What he is saying is that it is better to make mistakes and learn from them as we go along than to pretend to be direct descendants of St Peter or Paul and in the process not make decisions for fear of making mistakes!

A lot of economic stagnation in this country is due to this cryptic fear of the unknown and fear of making decisions!

I got the impression that the President is saying no to excuses and inaction.

I do not believe that anyone can find fault in the vision of the new President, taking into account his vast experience in the previous administration and the fact that he remains one of our oldest surviving cadres of the liberation struggle who knows why they went to war in the first place and what they don’t want to see happen again to this country and its economy.

The President’s acknowledgement of the iconic leadership and mentorship of former President Cde RG Mugabe could not have made better listening in front of all other Presidents who graced the occasion and the generality of those who packed the stadium.

Here, the President showed his real self as a statesman par excellence. I think that was a touch of genius on his part.

He was very gracious and I think many peace-loving people thank him for that.

Now, the lesson for me and to many others listening to his address there was that if the new President can forgive, exalt, honour and still respect his predecessor regardless and in spite of all events preceding his inauguration, who am I or you to want to keep grudges against anyone or anybody?

I think this nation is blessed to have a God-fearing leadership and what President Mnangagwa did will definitely stand us in good stead among nations and peoples of all colours, creed, religions and political persuasions.

What I’m saying is that it is not just the economic issues that I and many others listened to, but also, the political and social dimensions of the President’s speech.

I’m sure even President Mugabe himself must have been very proud of his mentee and successor regardless of the circumstances.

I know he was.

I’m aware that earlier on, the former President had passed on good wishes to his successor, though he had been anxious to hear what the new President would say about him.

Having been involved in a very modest way in trying to resolve issues between the former President, the military, Parliament as represented by the Speaker, University of Zimbabwe students as represented by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura and the Students Representative Council as well as the generality of the population, I, too, was anxious to hear what President Mnangagwa was going to say about his teacher and former boss.

I can tell you that I’m one person who is very happy with the speech and the outcome of all that has happened, culminating in the brilliant, peaceful transition between two great men in our history.

I particularly like the new President’s brand of EDNomics, EDPolitics and EDPlomacy.

As a nation, let’s move to implementation!

Coming back to SEZs, I am sure that even stakeholders with whom we have been engaging were impressed by the President’s message and will not hesitate to work with us after all the assurances of investment safety.

The Special Economic Zones board is ready to put its hands to the wheel.


Dr Gideon Gono chairs the Special Economic Zones board and is a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. He shared these views with The Sunday Mail’s Chief Reporter Kuda Bwititi after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inauguration on November 24, 2017


Share This: