Opinion: Zimbabwe should consider high intensity production

by | Jun 24, 2021 | Opinions | 0 comments

Witness Muronzi

The land reform programme which Zimbabwe embarked on in the late 1990s and the early 2000s was a revolutionary act of bringing economic emancipation to black people, from minorities.

As is with the dismantling of most systems, there are a pushback from those who used to benefit from the past state of affairs.
However, time has absolved proponents of the idea with a bumper harvest, the highest the country has witnessed in close to 30 years.
This was achieved through President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa’s timeous distribution of inputs through various schemes, the country is certainly undergoing an agricultural revolution.

Judging by the 2020-2021 agricultural season’s produce, the availability of good rains has shown that indeed, Zimbabweans are good farmers who can compete, and even surpass the former white commercial farmers.
The same can be noted in the mining sector, which is also undergoing a rigorous transition to an extent that the country is targeting a 12 billion dollar mining industry by the year 2023.

The discovery of rare minerals such as lithium is excited to every ear that is interested in green politics as electric cars are slowly but surely replacing the ones that burn gas to preserve the environment and reduce carbon emissions, which are contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer.

However, Zimbabwe’s bane lies in the export of raw materials without beneficiating them.
Raw materials are exported for a song hence reduction in values therefrom. It becomes imperative for the country to halt the export of raw minerals and other agricultural products that can be beneficiated and be exported as finished products.

There is a need to enact laws that protect Zimbabwe’s industry from ‘vampire capitalists’ who like Dracula are sucking the life out of Zimbabwe’s natural resources, which are by the way not expandable.

Be they from the East or the West, international relations has taught students of politics that all states pursue self-interests.
No state wishes Zimbabwe well unless it wants to benefit from that relationship.

Thus, the country should now move from a horse-rider relationship and start to retain control over its territorial integrity and start to guard jealously its sovereign wealth, which by the way is not expandable as resources get depleted.

Embracing the Chinese fourth 5year plan, which promoted rapid industrialization into our five year National Development Strategy (NDS), a driver towards Vision 2030, which aims to make Zimbabwe an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 becomes imperative.
In the late 1970s, China set up special economic zones to attract foreign capital and boost exports as the means to integrate regional and global economies. Thus, there is a need to import new skills set instead of having foreigners open tuck-shops in the country.
What the country needs are foreigners who bring required machinery, experts that impart skills to locals and the setting up of refineries by mining companies to stop the export of raw minerals.

It is time for another renaissance in Zimbabwe. The land reform is almost water under the bridge. The trajectory now should be on transitioning through the pain to an industrial revolution. Once this becomes the norm, even Vision 2030 would be attained within the set next 8years.
For Zimbabwe to achieve its projected economic goals, it has to embace the idea of intensive production.
Value addition is a taxing process and needs the workforce to be ready to work.

Such spaces, like in China are characterised as places of employment where productivity takes precedence.
The contracts will be short, but production anchored.

Such approaches have contributed to employment creation in Third World countries as well as the advancement of their economies.
What only needs to be done is to improve on the minimum working standards to reduce work-related injuries and deaths.

Thus, Zimbabwe can provide transnational corporations with a huge potential reserve for low-paid and disciplined workers thereby transforming from being a mere supplier of raw materials in the capitalist world economy to being a site for manufacturing industries and producing goods that are competitive in the world market. [to be continued].

Witness Muronzi is a student of politics and a social commentator and can be contacted via email: muronziwitness@gmail.com. He writes here in his personal capacity.