Zimbabwe needs to seriously reindustrialise to reverse 20 years of economic decay, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.
Giving a state of industry update at the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) 37th annual congress in Bulawayo, Industry and Commerce Minister, Nqobizitha Ndlovu, said reindustrialisation should now be considered a priority.
He said it was regrettable that Zimbabwe’s economy has been underperforming for the past two decades, yet it used to be one of the top performers in Sub Saharan Africa.
“Our economy has historically been one of the heavily industrialised ones,” said Ndlovu.
“The infrastructure that we have, though most of it, is dilapidating points to what Zimbabwe used to be and it reminds you of what Zimbabwe can be if not better than what we have.”
The country’s economy, after independence in 1980, anchored on agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and financial services, was the envy of many but today it is almost on its knees.
Company closures have since become the order of the day while exports have remained subdued.
Zimbabwe has no access to lines of credit while Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) continues to elude the Southern African country.
“I can imagine that in the 80s and 90s there are countries that looked up to Zimbabwe,” reminisced the Minister, adding many countries have overtaken Zimbabwe economically.
“Historically, Zambia’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has always been a third of Zimbabwe’s GDP but currently they have just surpassed Zimbabwe’s GDP.”
GDP is the value of services and goods produced in a country.
“Therefore, we really need to seriously consider issues of industrialisation for us to get back to our position.
The President Emmerson Mnangagwa-led ZANU-PF government’s vision of transforming the country into a middle-income economy by 2030, under the mantra: “Zimbabwe is open for business,” seems not to have taken off yet.