GOVERNMENTS the world over use different development strategies and models to influence the nature and level of socio-economic transformation in their countries. These manifest in the form of policy blueprints, legislative and institutional reform programmes aimed at positively impacting on citizen’s livelihoods and buttressing the national interest.
The launch of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday demonstrates this commitment by the Second Republic in a number of ways, as the Government keeps focus on attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Realising this dream is no mean task as it requires collective effort, strong stakeholder input and collaborative efforts by all citizens. We commend the Government for the well-crafted policy document, which seeks to inspire by aptly tabling a policy roadmap, institutional reforms and top national priorities for the period 2021-2025.
The uniqueness of NDS1 is that it is not disrupting the gains achieved in previous years but is a successor blue-print to the short-term Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which has scored major milestones since its launch in October 2018. The TSP expires next month with the Government and private sector endorsing its successes in creating a conducive macro-economic environment for a thriving economy and renewed investor confidence.
TSP’s main objective was to stabilise the economy and create a solid foundation for the medium-term plans — NDS1 and NDS2. Despite economic setback induced by unforeseen external factors such as climate change-induced droughts, natural disasters and of late Covid-19, the country is already celebrating notable progress made in the implementation of the TSP, including fiscal consolidation, exchange rate and price stability and a number of sectoral reform achievements.
There is no reason, therefore, for NDS1 to fail as it will be rolled out under better economic conditions than TSP and has bold strategies and policies to catapult economic growth, said President Mnangagwa in his launch speech.
Running under the theme: “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030”, NDS1 is a bold step towards realisation of Vision 2030 and will be underpinned by five annual national budgets and anchored on a robust monitoring and evaluation system. This calls for a robust institutional focus and implementation framework, which is result oriented so as to ensure that all the set goals are met.
Cognisant of the historic policy implementation failures for whatever reason, we strongly urge both the public and private sector players to embrace NDS1 and thrive to fully operationalise it for the collective good of the country.
Every stakeholder must be mindful of the key national priorities, which are sustainable economic growth and stability and achieving average Gross Domestic Product growth rates of above five percent, stabilising the forex exchange rate and maintaining low inflation. There is no doubt that adequate involvement would surpass the set target of increasing gross national income (GNI) per capita income to levels of more than US$3 000 by 2025 and creating more than 700 000 formal jobs.
Like TSP, more hard work is expected from every sector in order to build a solid takeover the National Development Strategy 2 (NDS2) from 2025 to 2030. This is why there is emphasis of the NDS1 bringing on bold strategies that will change the status quo. NDS1, thus, contains strategies, programmes and projects aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods of the poor, women and youth empowerment and support to people living with disabilities, in line with Vision 2030.
This national vision reflects the collective aspirations and determinations of the people of Zimbabwe towards a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income society within the next 10 years.
Revitalising the entire productive sector and energising value chains for increased economic gains and transforming livelihoods are at the heart of NDS1. In this regard, President Mnangagwa has said his Government would scale up efforts to develop strategic infrastructure in energy, water and sanitation, ICT and transport sectors, which are key enablers in turning Zimbabwe into a more efficient and competitive destination.
With a vibrant economy in place and improved incomes, there is no doubt, as President Mnangagwa said, that Zimbabwe is poised to enjoy enhanced citizens’ access to affordable and quality social services such as housing, health and education for both urban and rural communities.
Inspired by NDS1 and in line with the devolution and decentralisation agenda, we reiterate the Government’s call on our provinces, districts and communities to implement development strategies at their level, which are informed by respective resource endowments and competitive advantages.
As key economic pillars, we expect the mining, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors to play a pivotal role within the NDS1 period in unlocking more opportunities.
The mining industry has already set target towards the US$12 billion earnings by 2023 while the agriculture sector is targeting US$8,2 billion by 2025. We concur with the Government that our manufacturing sector needs to be modernised and be abreast with global patterns, which can only be done through increased research and innovation input. This puts our institutions of knowledge under the spotlight.