Zimbabwe is gearing up for its imminent presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for August 23rd. The electoral stage is set for the participation of a substantial 6.6 million registered voters, marking an increase from the 5.7 million recorded in 2018. These elections hold the promise of propelling the nation further along its path to economic resurgence.
Central to these elections is the nation’s economy, which is enriched with valuable mineral resources. President Mnangagwa, known for invoking the spirit of African independence movements in his campaign addresses, underlines his government’s commitment to providing opportunities for local citizens within sectors like mining and agriculture.
In an insightful interview conducted by Diplomatic Watch’s Digital Editor, Adekunle Owolabi, the spotlight falls on Her Excellency Monica Mutsvangwa, the Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services. She articulates well-defined strategies aimed at propelling Zimbabwe’s growth and recovery, despite the hurdles of constrained foreign funding and limited development assistance. She also shared President Mnangagwa’s ambitious plans to stimulate trade and investment within the country.
The nation’s attention is now focused on these upcoming elections, as Zimbabwe navigates both its democratic course and its intricate journey towards economic revitalization.
1. Can you outline the present administration’s Vision 2030 plans for Zimbabwe’s future development? What are the main goals and strategies to achieve this vision?
The present administration envisions moving Zimbabwe to an upper-middle-class economy by 2030. To realize this, the Second Republic has introduced the National Development Strategy (NDS1), a comprehensive economic policy document that spans from 2021 to 2025. This strategy is intended to empower and prosper Zimbabwe. The objectives of NDS1 include:
- Strengthening macroeconomic stability characterized by low and stable inflation, along with exchange rate stability.
- Achieving and sustaining inclusive and equitable Real GDP growth.
- Promoting the development of new enterprises, employment, and job creation.
- Enhancing social infrastructure and social safety nets.
- Ensuring sustainable environmental protection and resilience.
- Promoting good governance and corporate social investment.
- Modernizing the economy through the use of ICT and digital technology.
The policy document is underpinned by the Integrated Results-Based Management (IRBM) system, fostering a culture of high performance, quality service delivery, goal clarity, continuous improvement, and accountability across the public sector. Zimbabwe’s future development is also anchored in the expansion of agricultural production and value addition.
2. Can you provide examples of specific initiatives or projects aimed at championing Zimbabwe’s growth and recovery, as mentioned during President Mnangagwa’s engagements at the African Bank Forum?
Projects dedicated to fostering Zimbabwe’s growth encompass various endeavors. These include Hwange 7 and 8, the expansion of Kariba, and the construction of dams across the nation for irrigation purposes. Recent accomplishments include the completion of Chivhu Dam, Machekeranwa Dam, and Marovanyati Dam. These projects are notably aligned with the successful wheat production witnessed during the 2023–23 season. Additionally, the government is actively engaged in enhancing the country’s road networks through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP), recognizing the pivotal role of improved infrastructure in national development.
3. How does the present administration plan to overcome the challenges posed by limited access to foreign funding and development assistance? What alternative strategies are being implemented to ensure Zimbabwe’s progress towards Vision 2030?
The Second Republic is addressing the limitations of foreign funding by harnessing local resources, yielding impressive results as numerous projects have been accomplished without external funding. Notably, the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Program’s execution relies on local resource mobilization, reflecting a commitment to self-driven development. Substantial advancements have also materialized through public-private partnerships, spanning diverse sectors like agriculture, mining, and tourism. The increase in tourist arrivals from once-hostile nations stands as testament to the efficacy of Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement efforts.
4. Could you elaborate on the meetings and engagements President Mnangagwa has participated in to drive trade and investment into Zimbabwe? How are these endeavors surmounting the challenges posed by sanctions?
President E.D. Mnangagwa’s international engagements have played a pivotal role in augmenting trade and investment prospects for Zimbabwe. His participation in various high-profile gatherings, including Davos, King Charles’s coronation, and interactions with investors from Belarus and the Egyptian business community, has significantly expanded the country’s investment horizons. These interactions have yielded tangible results, manifested in increased foreign direct investment, defying the backdrop of ongoing illegal economic sanctions.
5. The decision to lift restrictions on the import of basic goods into the country—how has this policy change proven advantageous for Zimbabwe?
The policy shift to ease restrictions on importing essential goods has conferred substantial benefits on Zimbabwe. By making basic goods and services readily accessible, the government has demonstrated its commitment to stabilizing the macroeconomic landscape while curbing unwarranted price hikes. Moreover, the public auction system’s role cannot be understated, as it bolsters confidence in domestic currency. This confidence is exemplified by the currency’s appreciation against the United States dollar in recent weeks.
6. Concerning President Mnangagwa’s recent inauguration of projects such as Delta Beverages, the Lithium Plant, Chivhu Dam, and the International Airport, how do these initiatives contribute to the country’s development and economic growth?
These projects hold profound significance for Zimbabwe’s development trajectory. Delta Beverage Corporation, for instance, fosters development through job creation while contributing significantly to the nation’s revenue via taxes, including value-added tax, income tax, and pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax. These corporations also shoulder a crucial social responsibility, playing an instrumental role in uplifting local communities. Meanwhile, plans to establish Africa’s largest lithium battery plant hold promise, sourcing lithium resources from the Lithium Plant. The Chivhu Dam’s completion accelerates rural development, bolstering fisheries, climate-resistant agriculture, and power generation. Additionally, the International Airport’s expansion amplifies the tourism sector and enhances economic growth by accommodating more international airlines.
7. What key growth areas has Zimbabwe experienced recently in agriculture, mining, and tourism? How do these sectors contribute to the nation’s overall development?
Zimbabwe’s recent growth has been notably propelled by advancements in agriculture, mining, and tourism. The farm mechanization initiative has played a pivotal role in bolstering agricultural productivity, ensuring improved wheat yields, and enhancing food sustainability. The mineral resource wealth, spanning over 40 exploitable minerals, including platinum group metals, gold, coal, diamonds, and more, has propelled the mining industry from a $2.8 billion to a $12 billion sector. Furthermore, tourism continues to thrive, with an array of attractions attracting visitors, thereby contributing significantly to the nation’s comprehensive development.
8. Is the Government exploring the prospect of joining the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) group? What potential benefits and implications would arise from Zimbabwe’s membership?
Zimbabwe, as a sovereign nation, reserves the right to determine its destiny. The BRICS nations maintain a friendly disposition towards Zimbabwe, and membership within this economic bloc holds the promise of augmented foreign direct investments. Such a move could potentially infuse Zimbabwe’s economy with vitality and foster international cooperation.
9. Has Zimbabwe contemplated the possibility of adopting an alternative currency to the US dollar? What factors are under consideration in evaluating this decision, and what benefits or challenges could stem from embracing a different currency?
Zimbabwe has not entertained plans to introduce an alternative currency. The Zimbabwean dollar’s recent resilience, appreciating against the US dollar, underscores this stance. The nation’s current policy permits companies to transact in various currencies alongside the local currency. Denying customers the option to buy in Zimbabwean dollars could result in companies losing their operating licenses, as demonstrated by the revocation of licenses from 17 pharmacies. A decision to adopt a different currency necessitates meticulous considerations, including the need for a seamless monetary transition, the potential disruption to financial systems, public receptiveness to currency changes, and the imperative to instill trust and confidence in the new currency.
10. Could you provide an update on Zimbabwe’s key trading partners and the state of trade relationships? Which countries or regions are focal points in efforts to expand economic cooperation and amplify export opportunities?
Zimbabwe, adhering to the maxim “Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none,” actively cultivates economic collaboration with numerous nations. A conducive economic framework, resonating with the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra, underscores the Second Republic’s commitment. Key trading partners include:
- South Africa: is a substantial trading partner with robust engagement across agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.
- China is an influential partner, embracing diverse sectors such as infrastructure, mining, agriculture, and technology.
- United Kingdom: Historically a significant trading ally in agriculture, mining, and financial services.
- United States: While not the largest trading partner, the US maintains notable engagement in agriculture, machinery, and chemicals.
Zimbabwe’s endeavors to expand economic cooperation and elevate export opportunities are profoundly rooted in regional collaboration, particularly within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Enforced in January 2021, the AfCFTA endeavors to bolster intra-African trade, establishing a unified marketplace for goods and services. Zimbabwe, alongside fellow African nations, actively participates in this initiative to invigorate economic cooperation and extend export horizons within the African context.
11. Can you provide an overview of the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe, elucidating the significance of voting for councilors, members of parliament, and the president?
Voting constitutes a fundamental democratic right, encouraging citizens to exercise their agency without apprehension. Councilors, essential representatives of local communities, influence major decisions impacting citizens’ lives within their respective councils. Their roles encompass steering councils toward clear objectives, ensuring accountability, and crafting effective working mechanisms. Elected councilors are integral in council decision-making, playing a vital role in holding public services accountable and communicating council policies to constituents.
Members of parliament bear the responsibility of representing the electorate in lawmaking, overseeing government through hearings and inquiries, and scrutinizing government actions. It falls upon parliamentarians to inform their constituents about discussions in the legislative body and convey their concerns to parliament for deliberation. The significance of voting for the president is paramount, as the president navigates the country’s course, decisively determining its trajectory.
12. Could you elucidate the objectives and provisions of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill, popularly known as the Patriotic Bill? How does it seek to impact Zimbabwean society?
The overarching aim of the bill is to cultivate an ethos of prioritizing Zimbabwean interests above all else, fostering a sense of patriotism among citizens. The bill discourages actions that run counter to the nation’s welfare. In recent instances, some individuals have openly advocated for stringent economic sanctions on the country due to electoral losses. This bill strives to galvanize individuals toward a shared national vision and collective goals, nurturing unity and a sense of common purpose among citizens.