Vince Musewe IN my view, if our fundamental political and economic structures do not change significantly from the past, it simply means that we can neither expect nor create new outcomes. The transformation of any society requires three things: First, the profound realisation that it must change, second is finding those practices that will cause the change and third is adopting those practices.
I think this is now the case in Zimbabwe. In order to achieve our economic objectives as a country, especially with regard to incomes and quality of life, we must create an inclusive industrialised and democratic developmental State in Zimbabwe. Radical economic structural transformation (Rest) is an idea which seeks to fundamentally transform the Zimbabwean economy from an economic architecture which was perceived, designed and created by the colonialist and subsequently never transformed to meet the growing needs of the majority of ordinary Zimbabwean citizens at large.
The key objectives of Rest are:
To utilise our mineral resource base to create own capital which can in turn be deployed for rapid industrialisation and modernisation;
To fundamentally transform the structure of our economy and gross domestic product so that at least 50% of it emanates from manufacturing and services thus creating high wage skilled jobs and better quality lives;
To significantly reduce primary product exports to a set minimum of export earnings;
To significantly reduce finished product imports and only import raw materials or inputs for local manufacture and value addition;
To generate adequate revenues for social welfare obligations, free education and free health services for the poor;
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To upgrade economic and social infrastructures and create universal affordable access to the internet and ICT;
To embrace and adopt the 4th industrial revolution;
To ensure the majority of our energy sources are renewable;
To achieve complete and total devolution of economic power to provincial economies; and
To focus on human capital development and preservation of the well- being of citizens as the only competitive advantage we can deliberately create.
In my opinion, adopting the principles of a “Developmental State” would go a long way in ensuring sustainable economic transformation.
“The Developmental State” is a term coined by Chalmers Johnson to describe States which follow a particular model of economic planning and management. It was initially used to describe post-1945 Japan and its rapid modernisation and growth. A simple definition would be: “A Developmental State is a State where the government is intimately involved in the macro and micro economic planning in order to grow the economy,” with the addition “while attempting to deploy its resources in developing better lives for the people”.
What are the characteristics of a Developmental State?
The United Nations lists the characteristics of Developmental States as:
A government with the political will and legitimate mandate to perform the required functions;
A competent and neutral bureaucracy that ensures implementation. This requires a strong education system and efficient set of public sector organisations with little corruption;
An institutionalised process where the bureaucracy and government engages with other stakeholders; and
An established development framework and a comprehensive governance system to ensure the programme is implemented e.g. a central function responsible for overall co-ordination.
China, Singapore, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia are all categorised as developmental States.
Accordingly it is agreed that the developmental State not only refers to the collective economic and human development, but also describes the State’s essential role in harnessing national resources and directing incentives through a distinctive policy-making process. The State’s role as a partner with the private sector in the national industrial transformation. The State is a catalytic agency and managers respond to the incentives and disincentives the State establishes.
In my opinion, high on the agenda must be a stable and peaceful socio-political environment. Investors are certainly not attracted to a country where there is continuous political bickering and uncertainty.