Increasing Zimbabwe’s economic pie: – a pie in the sky

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Dec 12th, 2012

It is most distressing to hear what ZANU (PF) has to say about the economy and no wonder why millions of Zimbabweans wrote them off and left the country.

It seems quite fashionable now for the political parties contesting in the next elections to sell the idea that, their sole motive for seeking power is to ensure that Zimbabweans become more prosperous. We have heard these claims before and unfortunately, we have never had the opportunity to ask them exactly what they intend to do to achieve their stated objectives. In my opinion, that is where our political system continues to fail us. Promises are made that are not achievable and we never go back to question why and fire them for no delivery.

Zimbabwe’s economy has the potential to grow with double digit numbers because the economic pie has shrunk due to mismanagement over the last ten years. Zimbabwe currently spends 73% of its revenue to pay civil servant salaries, while maintaining a huge non productive government. Those who are fortunate enough to be currently employed cannot make ends meet.  We have also seen a plethora of banking products targeting civil servants who are slowly getting into serious debt.  This is further wiping out the little disposable incomes that they may have. There is no transparency in mining and agriculture, and it is now an open secret that we actually have two parallel economies running;  one that is highly liquid and is for the so called “chefs” and their cronies, and the other one that is for the rest of ordinary hard working folk.

It is againt this backdrop, that we must consider whether increasing the economic pie is possible at all, and if so, how this can be achieved. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe cannot finance its own development from mining revenues because of patronage and corruption. Zimbabwe cannot access local savings for investment simply because they do not exist. This leaves two options. The one option for any government in this conundrum is to print money, but of course this we cannot do as long as we do not have our own currency. So we must borrow or attract foreign direct invements to recapitalise and grow the economy. We need other people’s money .This of course is simple economics that everyone understands.

Now, we get a party such as ZANU (PF) that is now talking about 100% empowerment and Mugabe has been reported to say that we really do not need foreign capital. It is also considering reintroducing the Zimbabwe dollar to increase liquidity. That is not only insane but dangerous thinking. Zimbabwe needs foreign investment if it is to grow at all. In that process, we must compete with other stable African countries such as Ghana, a politically stable country where the economy is expected to grow by 14% this year. I just don’t get ZANU (PF)’s thinking here. Indigenization is hardly the solution we need right now.

I continue to be dumbfounded with the stated economic objectives of ZANU (PF) and what they are saying on the ground. It is like expecting mangoes from an apple tree. I just wish ordinary Zimbabweans would wake up to the reality that this economy will go nowhere is long as we continually have the incoherent thinking that is being demonstrated by ZANU(PF)’s leadership . We need to realize that, as a country, no matter how intelligent sounding our economic policies are on paper, we do not have the resources to invest in our own economy and these must come from elsewhere. No sane investor will pour his money into an unstable country that has a dictatorship. No investor will invest where he has no share in the profits. Democracy, liberty, free enterprise, the rule of law, a free media and private property rights must be in place if we are to grow the economic pie as intended by ZANU (PF). In addition, no investor will pour money and support a political leadership that has lost integrity based on its history.

It is most distressing to hear what ZANU (PF) has to say about the future of this country and now they even have the audacity to publish an economic plan for the next thirty years! No wonder why millions of Zimbabweans wrote them off and left the country. It is clear they are refusing to acknowledge the reality that surely they are no longer a viable entity nor do they have a convincing plan for the future. I desperately want to help them.

As we go into 2013 let us all work harder towards change, because if we do not do that, there is a very high probability that Zimbabwe will be a catastrophic failure.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all my readers and those that are working for democracy in Zimbabwe a prosperous 2013. I thank all of you for your contributions to the debate and the challenges you continue to place before me.

Let 2013 be the watershed year for the liberation of Zimbabwe.

Vince Musewe is an independent economist based in Harare. You may contact him on

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