ED: Zim now 20 years behind SADC neighbours on prosperity

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By Anna Chibamu

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe has fallen behind fellow SADC countries by 20 years in terms of economic prosperity as a result of western imposed sanctions.

He was speaking in an interview with state media recently to mark the country’s 39th Independence Day anniversary.

The Zimbabwean leader, who is under fire for presiding over a slippery economic terrain that has brought strain among locals, urged patience among his people.

To remedy the crisis, Mnangagwa said the country was in dire need of an industrialisation regime that will deal with the myriad challenges being faced by locals.

“In government, things do not happen overnight,” he said, adding, “It is a process after process. What is important and critical is to have a policy and a programme that deals with challenges our people are facing.

“There are challenges that need to be resolved to benefit the lives of our people. A programme to industrialise also needs to be put in place immediately.”

Mnangagwa admitted the country’s economy has been limping for too long and due to western imposed sanctions, it would not be easy to fix the situation overnight.

He said it was crucial to speed up processes to get the economy back on track.

His sentiments come after a lot of Zimbabwean companies have been forced to shut down due to viability problems worsened by continued lack of forex.

Mnangagwa admitted the country needed to play catch up with the rest of the world, especially within the SADC region.

“As Zimbabwe, we are a unique position where even in SADC, we have fallen behind by 18-20 years as a result of sanctions.

“So we need to leapfrog to catch up with the rest of the developing countries in our region, on the continent and the world over. We need to open ourselves.

“We cannot do this with our own financial resources internally. To a greater extent we need to mobilise resources domestically to support our vision to move forward but, if open, we need to attract growth per capita to come and assist and modernise our country. This is the way we can be able to meet our target for Vision 2030,” he said.

Mnangagwa however faces a tough task to tame an economy that has seen the continued erosion of most poor Zimbabweans’ incomes.

The president says he did not favour any price controls which have in the past been blamed for the disappearance of goods from supermarket shelves.