The Sunday Mail
Lonias Rozvi Majoni
The vast mineral resources that Zimbabwe has like chrome, gold, diamond and platinum present a bargaining power when it comes to trading with other countries.
It is a uncontestable fact that Zimbabwe’s isolation for the past two decades has stagnated socio-economic progress.
Nonetheless, one would want to know how a nation regarded as the land of milk and honey due to its richness in natural resources can fail to leverage on its God-given wealth in neutralising the impact of sanctions.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record encouraging to focus on how best the country can harness its natural resources to spur economic growth instead of moaning about sanctions.
It is also heartening to note that at his inauguration as the President of the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa clearly stated that his administration would focus more on economics than politics.
While it is an irrefutable fact that sanctions have caused untold suffering on ordinary citizens, it is retrogressive to be perpetually engrossed and moan about their impact as this has the effect of creating a lethargic attitude that hinders innovation desperately needed to rejuvenate the economy.
The most saddening fact is that the sanctions discourse has been so much clouded by polarised political perspectives making it difficult for the majority of people to appreciate the fact that their genesis have everything to do with the land issue.
More so, this has resulted in a sad case where the sanctions subject as a whole is not fully comprehended particularly on the fact that the MDC-Alliance party clearly uses sanctions as a tool for attaining political mileage. The reasoning is that the more people suffer, the more they are likely to rise against the Government. This kind of reasoning has, however, not yielded much political capital to the beleaguered opposition political party.
I was recently reminded of the toxicity of the sanctions discourse by a conversation that myself and some bar patrons had over the just-ended festive season. I realised I had torched a storm when I pitched that sanctions are at the centre of Zimbabwe’s economic stagnation for the past two decades.
One chap who by his manner of his raucousness sounded like an opposition political activist quickly interjected saying corruption and maladministration were the major causes of the country’s economic quagmire. The chap’s tired mantra was quickly countered by another patron whom I later got to learn was economist who said Zimbabwe simply had to identify and establish sources of competitive advantage on the global market in order to bust sanctions.
According to the economist patron, sources of competitive advantage are the material value of wealth that Zimbabwe is naturally endowed with which it can leverage on as a way of convincing those that imposed sanctions to realise the futility of their continued existence.
It is a known fact that Zimbabwe has a pool of natural resources that include rare and special minerals that are not only most sought after but are of economic significance on the global market. Itis those minerals that should be utilised as bargaining power not only to force those that imposed sanctions to reverse their actions but to acknowledge the indispensability of the country as a trading partner.
Simply put, sources of competitive advantage refers to natural resources that create conditions or circumstances that put Zimbabwe in a favourable or superior business or economic position on the global market.
Countries like China and Singapore managed to conquer their adversities through concerted socio-economic strategies that focused on harnessing local human and natural resources to become reputable major economic players on the global market.
Beyond political persecution and maligning, history is replete with stories of a number of countries that rose to become forces to reckon with economically and ended up being major international destination through identification of local qualities that transform economies.
A good example is Israel, a primarily desert country which has become a major net exporter of food in the world.
The Netherlands is another country built entirely on water while Dubai turned a desert into a prime destination for visitors across the globe.
What is thus needed in Zimbabwe is the uprooting of negative mentality that views everything within a narrow political aperture of “them” and “us.”
We need as Zimbabweans to recognise the unique foundational ethos that gave birth to the country and be emboldened by an enduring unifying national vision inclined towards sustainable development.
Beyond parochial political affiliations, Zimbabweans must be able to establish consensus on binding national interest issues. It is this common vision that must provide the moral compass in resolving whatever conflicts that might arise.
Is it not absurd that a mineral-rich country like Zimbabwe could still be in limbo and moaning about sanctions when the country is endowed with such rare minerals like lithium, a much sought-after resource needed in technological innovations?
The vast mineral resources that Zimbabwe has like chrome, gold, diamonds and platinum present immense bargaining power when it comes to trading with other countries.
In conclusion, it is my fervent view that instead of being dogged down by sanctions as an albatross to economic progress, we need as Zimbabwe to innovate and come up with local solutions centred on a common nation vision that will transform our country into an economic powerhouse not just in Southern African but beyond.