My Fellow Zimbabweans,
As the year draws to a close, I take this opportunity to thank you all for working hard for your families, for your communities, and of course for your country.
In doing so, I am confident that the year ahead holds promise of better fortunes for our Nation, all built on the strong foundation we have already laid for economic recovery and growth. Quite often this year, the going has been tough and challenging, all the time testing our mettle and resilience to the fullest.
We have risen to the challenges, in every instance drawing from our inner inventiveness and broad, collective unity.
Already, we see strong signs of recovery and growth, which the transient challenges we came across this year, appeared to bedim.
Still we need to do more, and to remain singularly focused more than ever before.
Focused on getting the macroeconomic environment stable once more, in order to make it supportive of the sustainable recovery we all yearn for. That means intensifying fiscal consolidation through a raft of measures and adjustments which we are determined to see through.
Focused on mustering greater support to our agriculture, so we remain a food-secure Nation, and so that our Industry continues to have enough raw materials for more activity. We remain hopeful that the predicted El Nino-induced drought will not be as severe, or that if it is so, that our water reservoirs and growing irrigation capacity will offset it.
Focused on mobilising more and more resources and better technologies for modernising our Industries whose recovery is already underway. We need to manufacture more and better, to export more and trade competitively, so we create more and better jobs for our youths.
Focused on stimulating higher production in our mines, as well as opening new mining projects, so our abundant mineral deposits become huge wealth that lift us all. We have to increase output across a whole range of minerals we have in the country, while expanding both domestic and foreign investments for greater value addition and beneficiation to the mineral wealth we have. That way we earn more from our depletable mineral resource.
Focused on rehabilitating, modernising and expanding all infrastructures, to support and anticipate greater economic activity in the country. Already, work on our major highways has begun, with more projects on rail planned in the year about to begin. Projects in the energy sector are steaming well ahead, all the time taking our Nation nearer and closer to the goal of energy self-sufficiency.
More housing projects and related infrastructures are planned for the coming year. Budgetary provisions on decentralisation and devolution will see more and more dispersed yet nationally focused economic activity at the local level, as envisaged by our constitution.
Focused on doing more and better in our services sector, where tourism, among other service activities, continues to grow and increase our earnings. This vital sub-sector will be stimulated through the rehabilitation of the Robert Mugabe International Airport; by new, far-reaching decisions we will take on operationalising our open skies policy, and of course through developing new tourism products for more markets. We dare not slacken on this low-hanging fruit.
Focused on building an industrially usable knowledge and skills base from our legendary high literacy level. The gap between high literacy and low skills level must narrow and eventually close, starting in the year about to commence. This is a task for all our tertiary institutions and for our mentors in entrepreneurship.
Yes, focused on a broader and more aggressive engagement and re-engagement thrust, principally targeting countries, economies and regional blocs which are friendly and hospitable enough to become source markets for the vital capital, investments, technologies and skills we need to change our fortunes.
Fellow Zimbabweans, the year ahead must thus mark a turning point.
With elections now behind us, the time has now come to refocus on improving our economy in order to improve livelihoods and the general welfare for our citizens. We must draw on our sense of unity and purpose, indeed on our political maturity, in order to move ahead.
I thus urge all of us to rally behind our Government so we realise our national goals.
As you return from the much-deserved break, please do so always mindful of the need to be careful and responsible on the roads. We have lost many people in traffic accidents this year alone, lost many needlessly. We must close this tragic chapter as we begin the New Year. This means thinking of our own fellowmen and fellow-women playing the same roads; indeed, thinking of the little precious souls aboard whose lives may be at risk because of our reckless driving.
I eagerly look forward to meeting and interacting with you more and more in the New Year, which I am confident will be better and more prosperous.
A Happy New Year Zimbabwe!
May the Good Lord continue to favour our Nation.
I thank you.