VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged the academia, policymakers and the private sector to come up with recommendations to make Zimbabwe one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa.
Speaking at the experts’ meeting on inclusive growth, investment and poverty reduction in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said the conference had come at a time when the country was beset by challenges such as low capacity utilisation, limited fiscal space to implement development programmes and liquidity constraints.
The experts meeting, which ends today, is organised by the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion in conjunction with development partners.
“We need to see an enhanced interface between scholars and policymakers working together to grow this economy. As the government of Zimbabwe, we are willing to implement your recommendations that we find practical. So, therefore, let’s make sure this is not a talk show, but it’s a serious conference to grow the economy,” Mnangagwa said.
He said Zimbabwe’s growth potential remained enormous and had to leverage on its comparative advantages such as a highly literate population, abundant natural resources, fertile land and tourism.
Mnangagwa said the Office of the President and Cabinet was making efforts to address the Doing Business framework in Zimbabwe.
A 2016 World Bank Doing Business report shows that Zimbabwe has moved 16 places up the ladder to 155 out of 189 on the strength of reforms
Mnangagwa said government’s aim was to see foreign direct investment increasing and would put friendly policies to get more inflows.
He also said the country had been receiving a number of foreign delegations from all over the world scouting for investment opportunities, with the recent one being Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote and government was able to achieve a record breaking time in dealing with his demands.
Mnangagwa said the government was set to host over 50 delegates from China at end of this month to attend the Zimbabwe China Investment Conference to be hosted by the Ministry of Economic Planning.
Speaking at the same event, African Development Bank (AfDB) chief regional economist, Mary Manneko Monyau said the time to unlock Zimbabwe’s potential was now and the continental bank will help.
She said Africa had experienced a delayed transformation and to foster structural transformation and inclusion would require, among other things relevant skills, government human development, inclusive and transformed infrastructure, engagement with the private sector, and linkages with emerging economies such as China, India and South Korea.
“The ability to capitalise on natural resources and achieving transformation involve a greater degree of industrialisation. As AfDB we believe the agriculture sector should remain central to the economy of Africa
“The five priorities areas of the AfDB building strategy for 2022 to take Africa out of poverty are lighting Africa, feeding Africa, industrialising Africa, integrating Africa and improving the social wellbeing of Africa,”she said.