The implications of re-engagement towards Zimbabwe’s development
EDITOR — Now that there is talk of re-engagement, it presupposes the fact that the international community disengaged with Zimbabwe and it is important to establish what precipitated a freezing of relations with the international community.
Zimbabwe was slapped with sanctions by the above mentioned trio starting in 2001 and 2002 and the Zimbabwe Development and Economic and Recovery Act (ZiDERA) is infamous for putting a raft of sanctions in place without the support of the United Nations, and this was executed notwithstanding the veto by Russia and China.
These sanctions were and are illegal, and, signalled disengagement with Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe has continued to scream in socioeconomic and political terms for anything up to seventeen years now.
While breach of human and property rights as well as breach of the rule of law were cited for the punitive stance taken by the white west, it is common cause that the sanctions were in retaliation for the implementation of a land reform program that sought to address the plight of the landless black population of Zimbabwe.
The prejudice of the said trio was backed by their hold on international finance and trade; with countries and organisations willing to do business with Zimbabwe discouraged from doing so as any detectable financial transactions were punishable.
From this perspective, Zimbabwe suffered international isolation and the need in a new era, under President ED Mnangagwa administration, to re-engage is thus important and necessary. It is in the light of the foregoing background that implications of re-engagement must be devised in such a way as to be strategic.
Strategic implications of re-engagement towards Zimbabwe’s development would entail some of the following:
1. Technology transfer and exchange programs that upgrade our interventionist approach to economic challenges.
2. A buy in that recognises the sheer importance of infrastructural growth and development as prerequisites for industrialisation.
3. Accessing of latest technologies in critical areas such as
i) Agriculture that defines our developmental base, noting that Zimbabwe’s economy is agro based.
ii) Mining that is the chief foreign currency earner, with beneficiating adding value to our minerals and metals.
iii) manufacturing that offers a broad scope of localising expertise at producing finished products such as clothes, watches, cell phones, computers, tools, plant, machinery and equipment.
4. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and Zimbabwe would do well to develop further and market its various attractive areas of resort alongside its hospitality industry for domestic and international tourism.
5. Education and the use to which it is put defines the development path of the country and Zimbabwe’s outstanding literacy rate should deepen home grown solutions that can be upgraded through exchange education programs with the broader world.
6. Social contract is about uplifting the living standards of ordinary citizens and re-engagement infers widening of the revenue base that in turn would assist develop in a significant way the rural areas where the majority of the impoverished population resides.
There is no doubt that re-engagement will assist develop strategic areas that account for self reliance aimed at achieving sustainable development.