Address by President Mnangagwa at the Zimbabwe Economic Development Conference held in Victoria Falls on August 12, 2022
It is my singular honour and privilege to officially open this inaugural Zimbabwe Economic Development Conference, which is being held a few days after we commemorated our National Heroes Day.
It is my hope that the ultimate sacrifice made by the gallant sons and daughters will continue to inspire us as we fight for the economic development, modernisation and industrialisation of our Motherland, Zimbabwe as we march towards Vision 2030.
It is most opportune that this conference is also taking place against the recent presentation of the 2022 Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review which highlights the positive milestones we continue to record as a country, under the Second Republic.
The theme, “Accelerating Economic Transformation through Evidence-Based Policy Making”, is apt and highlights my Government’s quest to mainstream evidence and research so that it informs policies and measures which are necessary to vault holistic economic development which also ushers our people into prosperity.
The concerted use of evidence in policy-making will go a long way towards strengthening and fine-tuning the macro-economic fundamentals. In an environment where our country still suffers from the albatross of the illegal economic sanctions; the evidence-based approach of policy-making will undoubtedly ensure that our economy produces more value, with each dollar that Government spends on our various projects and programmes.
As a result of sanctions, Government is having to, “eat what we kill” drawing from our own internal resources. Reliable evidence as an input for policy development is therefore imperative for high quality decision-making towards the prudent allocation of resources and improvement of service delivery and other public goods.
The benefits of well-informed decision making processes are indeed immense and include increased capacity for effective policy design, effective programme implementation, and better monitoring of performance, among others. The empirical evidence approach to decision making being advocated at this conference must never be merely an academic exercise.
Essential conditions for developing close links between service goals, implementation actions and high impact projects and programmes for the betterment of the quality of lives of our citizens, must be the ultimate objective.
This conference must therefore be contextualised as part of my Government’s efforts towards developing policy-relevant evidence, including processes within Government that allow for the use of evidence on the efficiency and effectiveness of policy interventions.
It is commendable that the presentations at this conference have been divided into various thematic areas covering fiscal policy reforms, monetary policy, trade and industrialisation, informal sector development and public and private investments, among others.
This dovetails with my Government’s desire to build knowledge that will inform future budget and policy decisions.
Going forward, the temptation of thumb-sucked approaches must be eliminated. Under the Second Republic, policy decisions shall be based on sound evidence through the use of broader factual and empirical inputs for ongoing policy development and programme improvement. The responsibility of stakeholders such as yourselves, is therefore weighty, in the present national development epoch.
In this regard, your presentations at this conference must be objective and based on reality. Rhetoric must not be taken for fact.
Never lose sight of our own uniqueness as an economy. Our country has been haemorrhaging under heinous sanctions for over two decades. We must never bury our heads in the sand but instead think outside the box.
Let us not parrot foreign narratives which are in fact perpetuated to stifle our capacity to economically develop as a sovereign state. Our discourse must be informed by our national interest and the fact that “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo”.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
As we implement the National Development Strategy, let us remain cognisant of the fact that bold and transformative measures are required to underpin the attainment of our Vision 2030.
Innovation, which is a desirable feature of policy systems, is central to the success of the National Development Strategy. Equally, the fostering of an enabling environment that is necessary for transformative economic growth remains key.
Hence, the Second Republic is making notable headway with regards to economic reforms while our Engagement and Re-engagement Policy is recording some successes.
The creation of a broad innovation ecosystem is yielding unprecedented breakthroughs.
This is as a result of Government’s support and the capacitation of strategic national institutions, including strengthening their research and innovation capabilities. Additionally, the Education 5.0 philosophy has seen the production of goods and services and new ideas which will enhance the socio-economic growth and development of our country.
As you deliberate during this conference, I challenge delegates to build consensus on how Zimbabwe can commit resources, various skills and capacities for the generation and use of quality data and research for evidence-based decision making.
Your debates should graduate from increased investment in data collection and analytical capacities in public organisations and lead to value addition in our decision making processes.
Going forward, events such as this conference should foster a culture of continued learning, un-learning and re-learning for the accelerated development of our country. We must, thus, continually inculcate the mainstreaming of evidence into budgeting processes and decisions not only in Government but across other sectors of the economy.
This must see us deliberately leveraging Zimbabwe’s competitive and comparative advantages, particularly with regards to the configuration our natural resource and excellent ecological endowment as well as human capital skills base.
As you deliberate, you should also be mindful that the translation and accessibility of research knowledge is essential for the needs of decision-makers and other stakeholders. The culture of using technical language which excludes ordinary citizens and laymen is not beneficial. In order to garner support for this new paradigm shift, it is necessary that there be development of a clear communication and messaging strategy.
The translation of the National Development Strategy into the 16 official languages is a case in point. I, therefore, exhort you to follow suit and ensure that all stakeholders are appraised in a manner which they will comprehend.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
My Government has put in place sound economic policies and fundamentals which instil confidence, support a stable domestic currency and generation of foreign currency, anchored on tight monetary policy and a favourable fiscal position.
The onus is now on participants and other stakeholders to also play their part, as we work together in the national interest.
The existence of these strong economic fundamentals is contrary to the recent exchange rate depreciation which is driven by factors outside the obtaining economic realities.
Against this background, I exhort you the academia to perform more rigorous research, which will further inform policy and programme decisions, especially in the wake of these developments. On its part, my Government will continue instituting measures which enhance macro-economic stability, boost confidence in the economy, preserve value for depositors and investors while dealing with market indiscipline.
Going forward, I urge you, individually and collectively to recommit to building a legacy of peace, love, unity, harmony and development.
Let us all continue to diligently and honestly work hard in our various spheres not just for our families but for the good and prosperity of our great country.
We have the onus to build the Zimbabwe we all want brick by brick, stone upon stone as we march towards attainment of a prosperous and empowered upper middle income economy.
After your hard and thought-provoking deliberations, I urge you to find time to enjoy the ambiance of the various attractions in and around the City of Victoria Falls.
With these remarks, it is my honour and privilege to declare this inaugural Zimbabwe Economic Development Conference officially open. I wish you fruitful deliberations.
God bless Zimbabwe.
I thank you.
God bless you.