Things are looking up for Zimbabwe as the country this week got a boost from Botswana which has agreed to a extend a financial package to Harare which is expected to go a long way to rejuvenate its economy.
Ahead of the Zimbabwe-Botswana Binational Commission this week, Gaborone proposed a BWP1 billion (approximately US$94,5 million) credit facility in support of the Zimbabwe private sector.
This comes amid talk that Zimbabwe was also engaging South Africa for economic assistance as efforts to revive the economy gather pace. In fact, Zimbabwe and South Africa will hold their second Binational Commission in Harare on March 12.
Last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya, announced a monetary policy statement which was largely welcomed by economists and the business community as a measure for restoring confidence in the economy.
Over the past few weeks, SADC and African regional leaders have increased their calls for the Western powers, led by the United States of America and the European Union, to lift sanctions they imposed on Harare close to two decades ago so as to allow the country to rebuild its economy.
But it is the assistance from regional neighbours that is quite encouraging and shows that Africans can find answers to some of the problems bedeviling their countries and continent once they put their heads together. Indeed none but ourselves can free ourselves from the shackles of neo-colonialism and over dependence on western aid.
Due to the devastating sanctions imposed at the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe has been a missing link in SADC for a long time and the sooner its economy starts ticking, the better it would be for the regional bloc.
Zimbabwe was a jewel of Africa three decades ago, with its economy unparalleled on the continent. It had a functioning currency, low unemployment rate and its industries functioned like a clock.
Three decades later, that jewel has lost its shine, thanks largely to the sanctions that have seen the country unable to access lines of credit. The country’s economy is in bad shape, it has no currency of its own and unemployment has reached unprecedented levels.
That is why President Emmerson Mnangagwa has his work cut out and must immediately grasp the nettle and make the country great again.
He has to put his shoulder to the wheel to better the country’s fortunes, moreso after years of economic decline caused by the sanctions and bad policies of former President Robert Mugabe’s regime which saw politics taking centre-stage instead of bread and butter issues that affect the majority of the people.
There is renewed hope in Zimbabweans and the entire SADC region looks forward to a new beginning for the country.
Millions of Zimbabweans who had fled from the economic decay and are dotted around the world look forward to returning to their motherland once the policies the government is putting in place start kicking in.
Millions have crossed the borders into neighbouring countries and other SADC member states such as Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland. Others have migrated to Australia, Britain, Canada, China, New Zealand, France, the United States and other European and Asian countries. In fact, Zimbabweans are found almost anywhere in the world, including in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq as they try to eke out a living.
The country has lost professionals such as engineers, doctors, nurses, architects, teachers, and even journalists to the diaspora. Ironically, it is these Zimbabweans working outside the country who have been helping to make the country’s economy afloat by remitting money to their families back home.
We believe the regional bloc, SADC, and its member states are making the right noises in support of Zimbabwe. Harare now needs to play ball and ensure that its re-engagement efforts with the international community remain on course. The country must also stay the course on reviving the economy.