THE World Bank has projected that Zimbabwe’s economy will grow by 3,8% this year, which, while not being nearly enough, is a reason to smile, as in 2016, it is estimated that it grew by 0,4%.
Comment: NewsDay Editor
With the state of the economy, Zimbabwe needs to grow by over 10% for five consecutive years if it is to get out of the doldrums, analysts have projected.
The 3,8% forecast growth is not nearly enough, but it gives the country a springboard for it to launch double-digit growth in the next few years.
Thus, the onus is on the government to savour and nurture this growth by sticking to sound and predictable economic principles.
There are already concerted efforts to improve the ease of doing business and hopefully, this goes beyond the planning table to the implementation stage.
An improvement in the ease of doing business will tell the world that Zimbabwe is ready for business and is inviting investors, meaning such reforms should not be taken lightly, but be given the support they need.
It might be a bitter pill to swallow, but for the economy’s sake, the government needs to rethink its indigenisation laws and remove the anger and rhetoric that often accompanies statements regarding implementation of that policy.
On principle, no one is opposed to empowerment laws, but what is important is that they are implemented in a transparent manner that does not put anyone’s investment at risk.
Zimbabwe is not the first country to implement black empowerment laws and there is need for the country to learn from other nations, not least South Africa, whose colonial history is not very different from ours.
There is also need for Zimbabwe to guarantee property rights for new investors. Surely, the era of land grabs and acquisitions should be behind us and we should be moving towards a period of sustained agricultural and industrial production.
The land reform, in earnest, began in 2000 with what was called the fast-track land reform programme and it beggars belief why almost two decades later land is still being grabbed.
There needs to be finality at some point.
To implement all this and turn around the economy does not need rocket science, but focused leadership that is willing to work for the country, not this situation where Machiavellian conspiracies, patronage and nepotism are the order of the day.
This cloak-and-dagger approach to running an economy has failed and will always fail. It is now time for the government to work for the people of Zimbabwe.
A 3,8% growth in the economy is less than modest, but it shows that with the right mindset from the leaders, the country’s economic fortunes can change for the better.
It just takes a change of mindset.