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‘Diaspora can drive economic revival’

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BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Former Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) business council secretary-general and past president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Trust Chikohora, has challenged government to craft sound economic policies to attract the diaspora market and help jumpstart the ailing economy.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Chikohora said the diaspora had potential to be the key driver of sustainable development in the country if government committed itself to restoring lost confidence through creating a conducive business environment.

“I strongly believe that when we eventually get our act together as a country, the diaspora is going to be one of the major drivers of economic renaissance in Zimbabwe,” Chikohora said.

“If we have people from the diaspora confident enough to put their savings back home, create businesses, invest on the stock exchange, in pension funds and various bonds floated by government and private players, there could be a huge economic boon in Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe has been experiencing an economic crisis for close to two decades.

Efforts by government to revive the economy have not yielded much and economists blame policy inconsistency for the failure.

Economists say policy inconsistencies, coupled with currency volatility, has killed investor confidence and affected the country’s chances of attracting foreign direct investment.

“So the challenge is on the authorities to come up with the right policies and strategies on how to make use of this diaspora impact,” Chikohora
said.

The Gweru-based businessman said inconsistent policies were making it difficult to harness funds from the diaspora for sustainable economic development.

Chikohora said some of the Zimbabweans in the diaspora had become big and successful in foreign countries, with networks that could drive huge growth in the economy.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans live in the diaspora with the majority reportedly remitting money back home to sustain their families.

Economic experts say the millions of dollars from the diaspora were meant for social protection rather than financing economic development in the country.

Follow Stephen on Twitter @jagganox78

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