Good­bye 2018, Hello 2023

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

HALF empty or half full? Face or Vase?

Big or Small? Good or Bad? This is the di­chotomy of per­ceiv­ing 2018. How you per­ceive a sit­u­a­tion, re­gard­less of what that sit­u­a­tion may con­sist of or which area of life it is, has a di­rect im­pact on the fu­ture re­sults that you will in­evitably ex­pe­ri­ence as a re­sult of that per­cep­tion, or more specif­i­cally the emo­tions that are ex­pe­ri­enced as a re­sult of the per­cep­tions that you hold.

Hamba kahle 2018

This is a fa­mous Nde­bele dirge. Born in a stub­bornly Catholic fam­ily and grow­ing up as an al­ter server, I be­came ac­cus­tomed to the mourn­ing song “Hamba kahle, hamba kahle sihlobo sethu, ushiy­ile lumh­laba . . . up­hu­mulile ebun­z­i­meni” (Go well our beloved, you have left this world . . . you have rested from the hard­ships). This melan­cholic re­quiem is ac­com­pa­nied by the priestly verse of Ec­cle­si­astes 3 v 20, Africanly known as Umt­shu­mayeli We­sithathu ivesi ngu- 20. It is at that point that ev­ery al­tar boy knows that it is time to pass the thorab and boat for in­cense to ac­com­pany the beloved who breathes no more. But well, the African Catholic in me al­ways knows that death does not mean the end of life, it means the be­gin­ning of it, ei­ther in pur­ga­tory or in Heaven, and at least that is what my church child­hood taught me.

Back to the dirge hamba kahle, it in­deed suits well with the year whose pro­logue in­spired the whole na­tion, es­pe­cially af­ter the suc­cess of Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy. Zim­babwe was a New Dis­pen­sa­tion, a Sec­ond Repub­lic had blos­somed and the year had a lot of prom­ises. Re­mem­ber, we greeted 2018 with invit­ing the un­cut world to an open Zim­babwe. In his of­fice, the Head of State and Gov­ern­ment, His Ex­cel­lency ED Mnan­gagwa’s re-en­gage­ment strat­egy was of nerv­ing the coun­try back into the global eco­nomics precinct. His global vis­its and invites to both the East and West, some­thing we had long dis­re­mem­bered at­tracted a lot of optimism within the in­tel­lect, hope­less, tech­nocrats and all sundry on the pos­si­bil­ity of a suc­cess­ful for­eign pol­icy. To many, obliv­i­ous to the fact that for­eign pol­icy serves self-in­ter­est first, it ap­peared as a “con­fused” and fu­tile eco­nomic re­vival plan. We had ac­cus­tomed our­selves to the fa­mous “Look East Pol­icy”, not that it was highly prob­lem­atic, but it mo­men­tously lim­ited us from ben­e­fi­cial global ex­ploits. We missed a lot and Em­mer­son Dam­budzo had a hu­mon­gous task of recre­at­ing global per­cep­tions. The pos­i­tiv­ity he bore and all the vis­i­ble at­tempts he made are suc­cesses of 2018, let us cel­e­brate and bank on them, but 2018 should rest in peace.

2018 was not a so-good year any­way. To sum­mate it all, the new Gov­ern­ment spent much of 2018 days recre­at­ing per­cep­tions about Zim­babwe. Take note, it was es­sen­tial as much as it was sup­posed to de­liver mea­sur­ables, but re­mem­ber, 2018 marked the es­cap­ing 37 years of doom where the Gov­ern­ment was re­vers­ing mal-gov­er­nance, repo­si­tion­ing po­lit­i­cal cul­ture and char­ac­ter, align­ing state­craft to in­ter­na­tional cus­toms whilst re­spond­ing to re­gres­sive geopol­i­tics of the West and at the same time, caught up in na­ture’s mis­giv­ings such as cholera, road car­nages, early and un­planned preg­nan­cies, the rise of cancer and the con­tin­u­ous rav­ages of HIV and Aids. ED and his team faced all this which sig­nalled to be im­ped­i­ments to keep­ing the 2018 dreams alive.

Hav­ing to de­liver his­tor­i­cal elec­tions and dif­fer­en­ti­ate the Sec­ond Repub­lic from the Mu­gabe era, ED had to sub­con­sciously nudge the much needed global econ­omy whose cap­i­tal we are in dire need of. What Zim­babwe needed was the world hav­ing trust in it, and this could have been done by pre­sent­ing the coun­try anew, pro­ce­du­rally, recre­at­ing a per­cep­tion about the coun­try.

Even so, with all hands on deck, some flew to Washington, begged for the re­newal of sanc­tions, de­clared that if they do not win elec­tions they will make this coun­try un­govern­able — “Jecharise”, in­cited un­war­ranted vi­o­lence on the 31st of Au­gust haivhiyiwi all cul­mi­nat­ing to nu­mer­ous prob­lems we see to­day that range from eco­nomic sab­o­tage that haem­or­rhages the mar­kets, spi­rals of strikes by key per­son­nel and not­ing that they are key ac­tors in neg­a­tive pub­lic re­la­tions of our coun­try. Please take note, I do not place the whole blame on them, I am sim­ply re­flect­ing on their mas­sive con­tri­bu­tion to our plight as well.

De­spite the whole­some suc­cess of the New Dis­pen­sa­tion such as im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion to con­flict res­o­lu­tion, a ded­i­ca­tion to po­lit­i­cal plu­ral­ity and tol­er­ance, new faces to pol­i­tics and pub­lic of­fices such as min­istries, a com­mit­ment to pub­lic fi­nanc­ing of hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment and a de­gree of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity, there is more to do in the forth­com­ing years, but 2018, we say hamba kahle sihlobo sethu.

Hello 2023.

The ex­pected greet­ing will be “hello 2019”, which I too hoped would make sense, but with the way things turned out to be, trend and sense that has be­come com­mon is pos­tu­lat­ing 2023. The ques­tion maybe why? The an­swer is: strate­gic plan­ning rec­om­mends that we have at least long plays of three to five-year pro­jec­tions which al­low sug­ges­tions of strate­gies, anal­y­sis of them, re­view and re-plan­ning. So, let us start look­ing beyond 365 days. In any case po­lit­i­cal par­ties have set the pace, 2023 en­dorse­ments are pre­cur­sory to how Zim­bab­weans should plan — 2023 is the New Year to fo­cus on.

Fo­cus­ing on the agreed New Year, 2023, pol­i­cy­mak­ers must em­pha­sise five key driv­ers of suc­cess­ful re­brand­ing the coun­try when elab­o­rat­ing eco­nomic poli­cies. In or­der to grow and be com­pet­i­tive as we want, the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor needs ca­pa­ble, healthy, and skilled work­ers. This will only be a re­sult of a re­freshed po­lit­i­cal cul­ture whose domino ef­fects yield com­pe­tent and in­tel­li­gent pub­lic of­fi­cials. Pol­i­cy­mak­ers should ad­just cur­ricu­lum to en­sure that skills are adapted to the mar­ket and should in­clude spe­cial at­ten­tion to youth.

Start­ing in 2019, Gov­ern­ment should re­visit ed­u­ca­tion cur­ric­ula to fo­cus on skills ac­qui­si­tion and build ca­pac­ity for en­trepreneur­ship and self­em­ploy­ment through busi­ness train­ing at an early age, skills up­grad­ing at an ad­vanced one, and bet­ter pro­mo­tion of sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, en­trepreneur­ship, and math­e­mat­ics as well as vo­ca­tional and on-the-job train­ings. In other words, they should build the hu­man cap­i­tal nec­es­sary for the in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of the coun­try.

This prob­a­bly has been said count­lessly, but I re­tort that in or­der to ac­cel­er­ate in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, Gov­ern­ment must bring the cost of do­ing busi­ness down, ad­dress­ing cost­ef­fec­tive­ness chal­lenges such as en­ergy, ac­cess to roads, se­cu­rity, fi­nanc­ing, bu­reau­cratic re­stric­tions, cor­rup­tion, dis­pute set­tle­ment, and prop­erty rights, among oth­ers. They should also en­sure the ef­fec­tive­ness of spe­cial eco­nomic zones to fast-track the process, that is, Bu­l­awayo should not be for ZITF ONLY.

With such mod­els and an ap­proach, in­dus­tries are more likely to evolve in the pres­ence of suf­fi­cient or com­pet­i­tive net­works. Gov­ern­ment should in­crease the size of the sup­ply mar­ket by eas­ing trade re­stric­tions, in­te­grat­ing re­gional trade net­works, in­creas­ing the coun­try’s abil­ity to de­velop so­phis­ti­cated prod­ucts, and lift­ing the bar­ri­ers to small and medium-size busi­ness growth and de­vel­op­ment.

Mov­ing on, Gov­ern­ment should now of­fer tax in­cen­tives to pa­tri­otic firms in or­der to un­lock job cre­ation and in­crease in­di­vid­ual and house­hold in­comes. Higher pur­chas­ing power for house­holds will in­crease the size of the do­mes­tic mar­ket given the rapid growth of the de­mand of man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts. This in­crease in do­mes­tic de­mand will also con­trib­ute to the cre­ation of pan-African de­mand, which, associated with the re­moval of trade bar­ri­ers sug­gested by the African Union, pro­tec­tion­ist poli­cies, and sub­si­dies, will help ful­fil Zim­babwe’s goal of open­ing its ex­its and en­trance to busi­ness.

It is high time Gov­ern­ment fa­cil­i­tates ac­cess to fi­nance, es­pe­cially for small and medium en­ter­prises, by de­vel­op­ing and ef­fec­tively man­ag­ing in­stru­ments ap­pro­pri­ate to the stage of de­vel­op­ment (loans, guar­an­tees and ven­ture funds) in crit­i­cal sec­tors. In or­der to bet­ter at­tract for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, we now should ad­dress the poor risk per­cep­tion that scares off po­ten­tial in­vestors or sets ex­ces­sive re­turns ex­pec­ta­tions. We should also mo­bilise do­mes­tic re­sources, curb il­licit flows, ap­pro­pri­ately man­age state rev­enues, and in­vest to stim­u­late in­clu­sive eco­nomic growth.

Beyond all of this we say Hamba kahle 2018, and I rec­om­mend that peo­ple read Ec­cle­si­astes 3 v 1-8.

Pham­bili ngeZim­babwe

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.