What will it take to transform Zimbabwe?

via What will it take to transform Zimbabwe? | The Herald January 27, 2015

Despite difficult economic circumstances, Zimbabwe has shown progress in several fronts in 2014. A few years ago, the country was faced with enormous challenges. The economy was severely constrained and hyperinflation set in. Health and education indicators and infrastructure were taking a severe beating.

Today, recent surveys indicate that concerted efforts by the Government, the UN, development partners and the private sector have stopped the slide in its tracks and laid the foundation for improved growth and development.

As a result, maternal mortality declined by about one third from 960 per 100 000 live births in 2009 to 614 in 2014. Immunisation more than doubled, with 69 percent of children in the country immunised compared to 37 percent in 2009.

In education – 57,5 percent of children now attend secondary school – compared to 48,8 percent in 2009.

HIV prevalence among adults has declined by half and is currently standing at 14,3 percent. And notably, AIDS-related deaths have declined by about one-quarter due to increased number of people on treatment.

The very generous contributions of our development partners have been instrumental in this regard.

For instance, in 2012, Zimbabwe received US$1,1 billion, the highest Official Development Aid (ODA) since the country’s independence, 48 percent of which was channelled through the United Nations.

However, we must not be deluded, nor rest on our laurels. This progress only points to the light at the end of the tunnel, a positive trend onto which we can further build on. The achievement of national development aspirations articulated in the national development blueprint, the 2013-2018 Zim-Asset depends on positive performance in pro-poor economic policies.

It is also dependent on accelerated improvements in the delivery of basic services. Much of the United Nations’ efforts in Zimbabwe have been focused on supporting national priorities aimed at resuscitating and improving service delivery to the population.

The poor and vulnerable, women and children are central to these efforts, for whom we must continue to work together in meeting their needs, strengthening their livelihoods and resilience. Going forward, in 2015 and beyond, our poverty eradication efforts should gather pace. We know that the prevalence of poverty and under-employment in Zimbabwe remains high and widespread, especially among the youth and women. These factors present major challenges to the country’s economy and people’s well-being, particularly for the rural and urban working poor.

The latest ZimStat survey on poverty shows that some 76 percent of rural households are poor, compared to 38,2 percent of urban households.

Overall – 62,5 percent of households in the country are poor – with extreme poverty standing at 16,2 percent.

This poverty data shows that much still behoves us to continue summoning our collective energies in the march towards sustainable development and poverty eradication.

To achieve accelerated growth and poverty reduction in Zimbabwe, we can count on strong partnerships and the sheer determination and resilience of the people of Zimbabwe, who ultimately led the country in its recovery from a decade of decline in economic and social well-being.

It is encouraging that the Government is undertaking key reforms to enhance the business climate, boost productivity and competitiveness, restore confidence in the financial sector, as well as improve public debt and financial management.

With these positive steps, we should assist Zimbabwe achieve accelerated growth and a significant reduction in poverty by supporting national initiatives and addressing challenges that include:

First, finalising the alignment of laws to the Constitution and ensuring rule of law, while creating an environment for improved economic and political governance is fundamental.

As enablers, these will increase business confidence and harness the Diaspora through brain gain, thereby creating a conducive macro-economic environment to mitigate the prevailing liquidity crunch and industry closure.

For example, the easing and reduction in the cost of doing business and clarification of some policy positions which include the implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations can foster more positive perceptions and generate confidence for foreign direct investment.

This in turn can contribute to stimulating economic activity in all sectors, including agriculture, mining, infrastructure, tourism, and services.

Second, aggressive promotion of domestic and foreign investment is a key priority. A rescue plan for the manufacturing sector is needed.

Local-international partnerships and an overall linkage of this sector to the rest of the economy to revive its fortunes should be considered.

In this regard, we cannot do much without the economic empowerment of youth and women, and the promotion of value-addition and entrepreneurship in the formal and informal economy.

The potential of young people must be harnessed through effective school to work transition programmes; intensification of vocational training; and entrepreneurship development to facilitate job creation and self-employment in the form of small and medium enterprises.

Third, despite the fact that the 2014 crop and livestock assessment shows a positive outlook and reduction of food insecure people from over two million to half a million, effects of climate change continue to negatively affect the country, particularly on its rainfall dependent subsistence farmers.

Farming families, as well as livestock and wildlife, have been exposed to ever changing and erratic weather patterns such as droughts and floods.

This situation calls for strengthening capacities of vulnerable households and communities to cope with climate change, and build their resilience through enhancing food production systems.

Fourth, we need to work together to address structural bottlenecks in infrastructure, including ensuring uninterrupted and adequate supply of energy, safe water, public transport rehabilitation, and exploring new opportunities through Information Communication Technology to boost service delivery and to unlock investment.

Fifth, addressing the high levels of poverty will require strengthening the capacities of households and communities to produce, add value, market their products and generate income.

Our collective efforts should primarily target rural poor households and communities to ensure their access to economic opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, including the provision of micro-finance credit and financial co-operatives.

Significant progress has also been noted on the governance and human rights front. Zimbabwe has shown good stability. The new Constitution, adopted in May 2013, provides a solid framework for good governance in the country, with a comprehensive Bill of Rights.

The provisions for the establishment of independent commissions to promote peace and reconciliation as well as human rights shows the national commitment for durable peace and security.

This is fundamental to consolidating social cohesion and laying the basis for equitable and sustainable development. Furthermore, Zimbabwe’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review Process and adoption 130 of the 177 recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council is further testimony to this progress.

Implementation of the accepted recommendations will certainly build confidence and improve the country’s image internationally.

These development results and the steps taken to promote good governance demonstrate what national commitment and fruitful partnerships can achieve. We should work together in highlighting the positive progress and collaboration that is taking place in the areas of policy and programme support aimed at addressing the debt overhang and unlock access to international financial services.

For Zimbabwe to harness its full potential, the need for a sustained ODA and a full-fledged international co-operation and engagement cannot be overemphasised.

A recent initiative by the European Union to resume direct development co-operation is welcome and a step in the right direction.

Reinvigorated international co-operation and re-engagement in trade and investment will undoubtedly contribute to transforming the social and economic progress of Zimbabwe.

It is also our shared responsibility to maintain and even increase development support to Zimbabwe, not only as a matter of global solidarity but also out of shared global interest.

Zimbabwe’s current role as chair of the Southern Africa Development Community and soon to be chair of the African Union, are real testimonies of the country’s resurgence and ability to play a leading role in Africa and beyond.

I strongly believe that with continued determination, together in strong alliances to mobilise, both internally and externally, the resources that have made it possible to stage this resurgence, we can accelerate equitable and sustainable economic growth and achieve poverty eradication in Zimbabwe.

• Bishow Parajuli is the UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP resident representative in Zimbabwe

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar

    It is very difficult to read some of these silly misleading articles. Never ever believe any statistics about the condition of Zimbabwe as a country because this Government controls and Doctors every report.For example if the writer could point out what inroads were made in 2014. The country took a lot of steps backward.What will it take to transform Zimbabwe? Silly question. Easy answers.1) The dismantling of Zanu pf or 2) The complete rebuilding of Zanu pf with all those that are tainted removed. The second can only happen if the first happens. Zanu will never admit they are wrong with their policies so we will never take any significant step forward. Charamba has said that they will never lose an election. What he means is that they will never let anyone win an election. That is why Zimbabwe needs the Zanu pf structures to be totally dismantled. Ironically they are starting to dismantle themselves. They just need a little help along the way.

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      If u read the bottom of the piece, u Will see that it was written by the un and undp coordinator to zim

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    Expat 8 years ago

    All the little facts make it sound like all is moving in the right direction, what it does not tell you is that these achievements are replicated in many countries across the globe and in those countries, the chosen leaders agonise over how to improve living conditions. Not for themselves but for the people how to get all the services working to provide for their growing populations, how to provide employment for their growing population. These simple human requirements seem to have been made less important in Zimbabwe, and what has become more important is for our so called officers of Government to find cash cows so that they can live in the manner that is culturally acceptable for a person in charge of the people! Lets hope that our Young people travel and return to get change this ancient tradition, and take up positions of responsibility and understand what that responsibility is!

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    “According to the World Bank, Zimbabwe’s GDP growth declined to 1,7 percent last year from 2013’s 3,2 percent.” This is in another article so do tell herald what significant steps has the country taken in 2014.

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    The Mind Boggles 8 years ago

    Written by a fool and only fools will read and believe this simple as that!!!!!!!

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    Petal 8 years ago

    To transform the country it has to rid itself of this party that the thieving 90 year old geriatric, his family and all the thieving scumbags that belong to

  • comment-avatar

    Read the below:When a country fails…..

    Thieves break into Gwanda prison
    DARING thieves broke into Gwanda Prison Monday night getting away with valuables that included an undisclosed amount of cash and mobile phones belonging to inmates and staff in yet another incident that has exposed laxity at the prison.
    Earlier this month a prisoner escaped from the remand prison in broad daylight whilst guards were reportedly chatting on their mobile phones.

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    Thats what happens when a country is dysfunctional. See below

    Thieves break into Gwanda prison
    DARING thieves broke into Gwanda Prison Monday night getting away with valuables that included an undisclosed amount of cash and mobile phones belonging to inmates and staff in yet another incident that has exposed laxity at the prison.
    Earlier this month a prisoner escaped from the remand prison in broad daylight whilst guards were reportedly chatting on their mobile phones.

  • comment-avatar
    Mambo Jambo 8 years ago

    Why has Zimbabwe not adopted 47 resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council, and what are they?