The Sunday News
David Muchatiza, Sunday News Correspondent
ECONOMIC growth that improves the way of life and lessens poverty for all has been the major objective of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa.
A lot has therefore been said and done on the economic, political and social fronts to achieve the goal of being an upper-middle income economy by 2030 but there are still hurdles that include but are not limited to lack of confidence in the market, corruption and sabotage meant to incite political instability.
The need for a shared vision and a social contract between Government and the people therefore needs no emphasis in efforts to turn around the economy of the country and achieve the desired growth. The contributions of the following groups such as the NGOs, the church, Government, tertiary institutions, political parties, diasporans and the youths should be harnessed and used positively as they have a bearing both politically and economically. Growing the economy is therefore everyone’s responsibility and there should be no room for passengers and spectators.
Civic Society Organisations — The Arbitrators
Since independence in 1980, non-governmental organisations played a critical job in fashioning collaborations among various partners, interfacing youth with training providers and potential employers and in strengthening market-driven standards in burdened districts.
They should divorce themselves from partisan politics and guarantee that their work is in line with national development planning and prioritisation. The NGOs must establish national and neighbourhood advisory boards of trustees that incorporate delegates of Government services, private sectors and civil society associations. Civil society has a major task to carry in sustaining network leaders towards economic growth, thus through determining the right representatives, creating the conditions for people to take part in civil life, elections, common problems; prioritising the areas that are important to life, be it health, education, water, roads, sanitation, power, etc.
Engagement fosters a spirit of rationalism that prevents dogma and encourages ideas and innovation. Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) can play an important role in enhancing transparency and good governance by contributing to increased public debate on issues surrounding the formulation and implementation of policies and in supporting greater transparency of public revenues. CSOs must keep a watch on the Government and fill the holes that are not tended to by the State.
Tertiary Institutions — The knowledge hubs
Higher education and development have not been a priority of global policy or research funding in recent decades. Yet, since the millennium, governments have become believers in the global knowledge economy and higher education enrolment growth has been phenomenal. This offers favourable circumstances in conceptualising higher education’s developmental role, through its stresses on the importance of skills, work, innovation and promotion for economic development. The roles of higher education in sustainable economic and social development in sync with socio-economic dynamics can never be underestimated.
Higher education can be seen as a focal point of knowledge and its application, an institution which makes a great contribution to the economic growth and development through fostering innovation and increasing skills. Higher education is broadly defined as one of key drivers of growth performance, prosperity and competitiveness. UNESCO says its social role provides the link between the intellectual and educational role of universities on one hand and the development of society on the other. Raising skills holds the key to higher living standards and well-being. Therefore higher education in today’s economy must be responsible for creating a quality workforce, supporting business and industry, carrying out research and promoting technologies and boosting growth.
Diasporas — The Connectors
Diasporas can assume a critical role in the economic development. Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, diasporans can also promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses and spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills. The impact of diaspora engagement is difficult to assess, due to the difficulty disentangling causation and correlation, and quantifying the impact of elusive goods like skills and knowledge transfers. However, we do know that the Government can certainly do more to remove obstacles and create opportunities for diasporas to engage in economic development. Specific actions include identifying goals, mapping diaspora location and skills, fostering a relationship of trust with the diaspora, maintaining sophisticated means of communication with the diaspora, and ultimately encouraging diaspora contributions to national development.
To tap into these, there is need for preparing “diaspora profiles” in order to understand the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of diasporas, their attitudes, and possible areas of interest for collaboration, implementing policies to facilitate diaspora involvement, designing financial instruments to attract diaspora savings and building the capacities of existing services and institutions dealing with migration and diaspora issues.
Government — The Administrator
In the current status quo the role of Government can broadly be divided into two parts: direct role and indirect role. Direct role is where the Government works as a social-welfare organisation of the common people without making any motive to maximise profit.
The direct involvement of the Government towards the country’s development can include agricultural growth, industrial growth, and development of socio-economic infrastructure, efficient utilisation of resources, maintenance of law and order, social distributive justice (devolution) and control of monopoly.
The Government also plays different indirect roles for the rapid economic development of the country, However, to achieve a total shift in economic growth the Government must invest in infrastructure, identifying regional strengths: a key to economic vitality is to identify particular strengths of a region, inventing fresh partnerships, involving private sector leadership and insisting on quality. The reality of global competition requires that every investment test itself against world-class standards.
Political Parties — The Moderators
Political parties and parliamentarians should recognise citizens’ requirements and concerns and create legislation that promotes good governance and democratic institution building. They must be there to provide social support, in particular to the poor and other marginalised people. The parties serve several economic functions. They bring together those in society who share ideologies, values and views about the direction that should be taken by the State that governs the society. Exchanging knowledge through the party apparatus is key towards economic growth and revival.
Young Generation — The Drivers
It is the natural law of societal development which necessitates succession. The pivotal role played by the youth is also determined by the ability to transfer positive aspects of their experiences to successors. The new generation ought not to experience similar challenges in life witnessed by their predecessors. The youth are also expected to determinedly uphold the foundation laid by their precursors by seeing the latter’s efforts through to fruition. The youth are the most essential and dynamic portion of the populace in any country. It is believed that developing countries with extensive youth populace could see huge development, if they put resources into young people’s education, health and protect and guarantee their rights. It is without uncertainty to state that today’s youths are tomorrow’s innovators, creators, builders and leaders. Be that as it may, they need the required help in terms of good health, opportunities and skills to transform the future.
One of the sustained ways of addressing poverty is skill development in youths. A spirit of entrepreneurship has to be inculcated right at school to create more job providers than job seekers for a vibrant economy. The energy and wisdom has to respected, guided and nurtured for future roles.
The church is essential in growing a nation. It speaks to poverty, broken homes, and to corruption and addresses the economy from a moral standpoint of a mind-set shift. The church provides non-material, spiritual and moral components for the development of culture, which serve a double purpose in the process of forming further values and norms of community life. This function can be described as inspirational. Most observers of social life consider various aspects of reality to be influenced by religion. In the current set-up, religion has been undermining sustained progress. Within its range, the church forms a complex structure, a network of relationships and linkages connecting the individuals who are located in the closer and wider social environment of a given religious community. They can, therefore, impact upon society, influencing the formation of a variety of opinions and views, attitudes and behaviours, as well as on individual and social abilities and virtues.