British business intelligence firm, Alaco Limited, has released a report giving President Mnangagwa a seal of approval and that he can turnaround the economy in a few months and create gains that can help the ruling Zanu-PF party win the elections. Zimbabwe is expected to hold general election by July this year. In its intelligence report last Friday entitled: “Key players in Zimbabwe speak of economic hopes,” the firm said it interviewed key economic players including industrialists and farmers who concurred President Mnangagwa had what it takes to lead economic recovery.
People interviewed revealed President Mnangagwa made a promising start in his bid to stabilise the economy, especially repealing of some provisions of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act that “choked off foreign investment”. His pledge to compensate and reintegrate former commercial white farmers who lost their farms during the land reform programme had earned the new dispensation many sympathisers.
The report, quoting president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry, Sifelani Jabangwe, said his faith in President Mnangagwa stemmed from his time as VP, saying he showed himself to be a “man of action”, overseeing the implementation of effective pro-manufacturing policies and a food security initiative, the Command Agriculture.
“So the way we are looking at it is that if that approach is implemented in terms of other challenges that the country faces, the economy should grow,” said Mr Jambangwe.
He said despite what the economy had been going through, certain fundamentals were fairly positive. “For instance (road) infrastructure is old but it is there. It is about repairing potholes, which is much better than having to establish a new network. The railway system is very old (though) with investment you could upscale what you have got there.
“But there are a lot of other positives that the economy has. Peace and security is a key one. Crime rates are extremely low for the region and even (compared to) some countries in the EU.” Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Peter Steyl, said he was encouraged by President Mnangagwa’s compensation offer to white former farmers and plans to reintegrate them into the Zimbabwean agricultural sector, the backbone of the economy.
“For every job created on the farms, at least seven jobs are created in the value chain,” he said.
“While it was early days, he said the message he was getting was; ‘that farming will be down to people who can farm and that (land) won’t be handed out on a patronage or colour basis’. I do see a more integrated agricultural system going forward. ” The Association for Business in Zimbabwe CEO Victor Nyoni said: “The economy has been destroyed.
“Unemployment is around 90 percent, industrial capacity is operating at below 50 per cent and most of the companies in Zimbabwe are using archaic machinery and require retooling.” Nyoni said President Mnangagwa had spoken of the need to improve the ease of doing business and has tasked ministers to identify pieces of legislation causing companies problems.
“Ministers have been consulting us on what it is we want to see changed in the context of business. We are struggling as we speak. We are even unable to pay for imported raw materials because of the lack of foreign currency.” Liquidity, he said would only begin to improve once the economy start getting lines of credit and foreign direct investment.
The report noted that overseas investors were likely to hold off until they see evidence of economy stabilising. But diaspora Zimbabweans were already keen to seize opportunities and recently proposed to invest $800 million in several sectors of the economy.
President of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Forum, Anele Ndlovu, said members if his forum were already looking for foreign partners and were “gunning for big things” in the mining, energy and infrastructure sectors as well as targeting stakes in public enterprises.