Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Zimbabwe is poised for a great future

Zimbabwe is poised for a great future

Vince Musewe
04 June 2012

Vince Musewe says once the political situation is sorted out, the country 
will rebound in a big way

ZANU (PF) has made some significant mistakes in the past but I must say its 
policies during the first decade of independence have created some positive 
factors that can hardly be reversed

You are probably wondering which planet I am from or what I have been 
smoking lately but let me share with you some of my contrarian thoughts. 
After reading Roy Bennett speech made in Oxford recently, I can’t help but 
agree with much he has to say with regard to the political culture in 
Zimbabwe (see here).

However as analysts, sometimes we fall in the trap of analyzing macro issues 
rather too much and reaching conclusions that minimize our perception of 
future opportunity while enlarging current and seemingly insurmountable 
problems. I am of the opinion that despite the current problems my country 
faces, the future holds significant opportunity that we are likely to miss 
unless we begin to change our attitudes.

My recent visit to Zimbabwe confirms that there is some disconnect between 
what we read and what is actually happening on the ground. There is no doubt 
in my mind that Zimbabwe deserves a better leadership and that to large 
extent the quality of life could be better but that should not blind us to 
the opportunities that exist. I am also a firm believer that I thoughts 
become things and by changing our thoughts about circumstances ,we can 
change them for the better.

My interpretations have exposed that through hardship, Zimbabweans in 
general have become more entrepreneurial in their approach. They no longer 
look to government as the sole provider of economic opportunity as in the 
case in countries such as South Africa. Zimbabweans have become more 
resilient and somehow empowered particularly in their attitude and demeanor 
and one can sense a quiet self-confidence despite the present macroeconomic 

Significant opportunities exist in rebuilding the country and reviving the 
economy and all Zimbabwe needs is money. I have no doubt that the country is 
likely t rebound within a very short space of time once the politics have 
been resolved. Infrastructure, telecoms, agriculture, media, manufacturing 
and mining present some very stimulating opportunities for the future and I 
would advise those Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to seriously consider 
investing at home before the opportunity space moderates.

It is disturbing however to note that the media sector is still rather 
constrained and there does not seem to be the free flow of information and 
robust public debate on pressing socio economic and political issues. It is 
also evident that selfish ambition by most, particularly those in public 
office, is reducing or arresting the country’s intrinsic potential.

On the economic front I would argue that the macro economics we are so 
competent at analyzing are not reflected in the micro economics. True there 
is a dire shortage of cash and the economy is being constrained by lack a 
capital. The existence of sanctions, although targeted at individuals, has 
however, created a rather unfair negative perceived country risk that 
ultimately has a negative impact on ordinary and innocent Zimbabweans. 
Because of sanctions, ordinary Zimbabweans cannot get employment as most 
companies have closed or are operating at minimal capacity because of lack 
of access to credit. The removal of sanctions is therefore critical to 
increase the opportunity space for Zimbabweans in general and their 
continued existence cannot be supported.

An attractive development or unintended consequence is that, a large number 
of middle class Zimbabweans no longer look to be employed and you now have a 
vibrant and hungry sector of middle class entrepreneurs who are producing or 
supplying goods to the economy. This in my view is an irreversible positive 
development that can only stand the economy in good stead in the future.

Added to this is the indigenization philosophy which is inadvertently 
shifting economic aspirations in general and creating new hope. Although its 
implementation is under question, I however think that there is nothing 
inherently evil or disadvantageous in this policy and those who are prepared 
to embrace it, be they black or white can only benefit in the future.

Zimbabwe’s natural resources base, its skilled labor force, peaceful 
communities and excellent climate present advantageous opportunities for the 
future. The new entrepreneurial spirit evident within the black middle class 
adds a positive spin. These factors, in my view, have tended to be immune to 
the politics of the country and for me create misunderstood opportunities 
that must be taken advantage of.

ZANU(PF) has made some significant mistakes in the past but I must say its 
policies during the first decade of independence have created something that 
can hardly be reversed- an educated middle class that has a strong work 
ethic. The ownership of land and the drive to localize ownership of other 
assets are creating a strong platform for future growth. My anticipation is 
that this process must be depoliticized so that it becomes a non partisan 
wholesale empowerment drive geared to reposition the economy as a whole.

If you add a participative democracy, respect for human rights, an open 
media and access to capital to all this, you are likely to get a formidable 
Zimbabwe that can once more become a significant economy within the region.

It is my view therefore that, despite its current political problems, 
Zimbabwe is poised for an incredible recovery and an awesome future.

Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare and you may 
contact him on [email protected]


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