Golden Sibanda in CAPE TOWN, South Africa
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has hailed the role played by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora towards growing the domestic economy and implored them to increase their participation through investments.
He was addressing Zimbabweans living in South Africa during a dinner hosted by the Zimbabwe Diaspora Federation after his arrival in Cape Town ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa which starts today.
President Mnangagwa said while many critics doubted that interventions by Government to rebalance the economy for sustainable growth would pay dividends, it required those with vision, will and determination, to support the efforts.
He invited Zimbabweans across the world to participate in all key sectors of the economy and use the skills gained in economies that are bigger and better than Zimbabwe to help rebuild the country.
“As a Government, we recognise and appreciate the contributions you as Zimbabweans continue to make towards the growth of our economy, through remittances and general support to country,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Diasporans had also contributed immensely towards alleviating the plight of people affected by the effects of Cyclone Idai in parts of Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, adding Government was overwhelmed by their level of support.
“You in the Diaspora have a huge role to play in our quest to become an upper middle income economy by 2030.
“It is therefore incumbent upon you to harness your individual and collective potential to help the modernisation, industrialisation and economic growth of our country,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said over the years Zimbabwe had suffered economic stagnation and stunted growth, due to the illegal economic sanctions.
“As such, the skills, competencies, as well as networks you have gained while in these foreign lands must be utilised to leapfrog and drive our development agenda,” he said.
The President also bemoaned the xenophobic violence that has engulfed South Africa and said South African authorities needed to take strong, punitive actions against the perpetrators, if the problem was to be contained.
“I have no doubt that the authorities here will not fold hands, they must bring sanity and to do so they must apply a bit of force,” he said.
South Africans, mainly in Johannesburg and Pretoria, have unleashed violence on foreign nationals since Sunday night.
Most foreign-owned businesses have been looted and burnt in the orgy of violence.
The President said Diasporans must promote the country’s tourism products through marketing places such as Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe Monument, the Eastern Highlands and diverse wildlife.
He said his administration had adopted a raft of policy reforms to improve the country’s macroeconomic environment, adopted zero tolerance to corruption and was also working to improve service delivery.
“The reform of parastatals will see the privatisation of some and the unbundling of others into strategic units and commercial entities.
“We invite Zimbabweans living in South Africa with access to capital to seize these opportunities availed by the reform initiatives,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said to ensure that no one is left behind in the development, the Government had adopted devolution, as provided for in the Constitution.
He also said Government was working on a framework to establish a unit within the Registrar-Genral’s Office to look into proposals and concerns of people living in the Diaspora, which includes voting.
This would encourage development to be initiated and supported from ward, district and provincial levels. Further, he said growth of industries would be supported through small enterprises, start-ups and entrepreneurial activities.
To this end, the President said the Government had recently launched the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy, which seeks to enhance the performance and competitiveness of local manufacturers.
President Mnangagwa said monetary policy reforms were envisaged to result in robust, market-based exchange rate stability, contained inflation and greater confidence in the economy.
He said other initiatives such as the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, legislative reforms to align new laws with the Constitution and repealing of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act, will further support the economic turn-around.
President Mnangagwa said in view of the adverse effects of some of the reform measures, Government had put in place various safety nets to protect and cushion the vulnerable. “More safety nets will be rolled out, as we go forward. Corruption is vice that we must permanently weed out of our society,” he said. “We are determined to continue fighting all forms of corruption at every level. The reconfigured (Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission) ZACC and other institutions that help fight corruption must be seen in this light,” the President said.