By Staff Reporter
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube has said that Zimbabwe will join Africa’s top six fastest growing economies in the next 24 months.
He was addressing delegates at Zimbabwe Investors Forum held on the side-lines of the ongoing United Nations 73rd General Assembly in New York.
“Zimbabwe will be joining the group of six countries which have the fastest growing economies with a growth rate of six percent per annum which comprise Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania and Ivory Coast,” said Prof Ncube.
“We have a policy direction in terms of our visions. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has launched vision 2030 which will drive the country to a middle-income economy with an income per capita of $3,500 by year 2030 through the pillars of stronger governance transparency, macro stability, inclusive growth infrastructure investment and social development.”
Minister Ncube also revealed that president Mnangagwa will launch the Transitional Stabilisation Program within the next four weeks which will drill down the work plan.
He underscored that the programme’s key pillars are macro policy, institutional arrangement, growth of the services sector and developing human capital.
“Let me remind those of you who may not know anything much about Zimbabwe, the country has an excellent human capital base with a high literacy rate, abundance of natural resources, minerals, good infrastructure, access to power water and sanitation and is favourably located in Southern Africa,” Ncube said.
He noted that government was working on reforms by pursuing a debt relief strategy so that “we catch up with our arrears which will allow us to unlock the flow of capital from the rest of the world”.
However, Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe director, Dr Godfrey Kanyenze expressed doubt over Ncube’s time frame.
“There are a host hurdles that lie ahead of the nation’s economic reform process,” he said.
Government needs to come up with a debt clearance strategy, deal with emerging issues of Gukurahundi, cut down expenditure, instil expenditure discipline and all this cannot be achieved in twenty-four months.
“Back home, the incumbent president was immersed in a disputed election which saw his party’s winning parliamentarians garnering higher votes and all these issues need resolve to establish a proper foundation for economic growth.
“Even countries like Rwanda did not achieve such rankings in a space of 24 months.”
He noted that basic rules of economics are clear that one does not reap on the same day of sowing while the political economy of the real world has potential to force some delays.
“… how is it possible to save money for debt clearance, implement cut across changes, save towards economic and then join the continent’s group of six in 24 months?” queried Kanyenze.
Another economist, Aeneas Chuma also said that even when fast-tracked, Zimbabwe cannot be a part of the great six in 24 months.
“The country’s economy used to be the second best on the continent and that can certainly be achieved if proper remedies are taken but certainly not in 24 months as there still is need to amend wrong thinking.
“In most cases it is the same government which is holding up the process of economic recovery due to unnecessary procedures and additional costs through licensing fees and taxation and these require time to be phased out.”