Thursday, July 24, 2008

(HERALD) Talks pave way for economic growth

Talks pave way for economic growth

The milestone reached this week by Zimbabwe’s main political parties in signing the talks agreement should pave the way for the country’s return to the path of economic growth and stability. This is indeed no doubt an important time for the country as Zimbabweans work to put behind them political differences and rivalry ahead of peace, stability and economic growth. Indeed, we see those involved in the talks determined to deal with the challenges and to move forward in a new chapter in Zimbabwe’s history.

What we all crave for is for Zimbabwe to quickly take back its position as a key economic player in Southern Africa with a diversified economy whose potential is immeasurable. The country’s key economic drivers are the agricultural, manufacturing, tourism, mining and banking sectors, as well as a well-educated and trained population.

And as our country undertakes the long road back to political stability with political parties getting down to serious business of the talks in South Africa, it is time for the economy to also start ticking.

Local companies must start sending positive signals to the international community of what is happening in our country and show confidence by boosting trade and investment.

Foreign investors can only take a cue from domestic investors.

Most companies have for a long time been constrained by the unstable macro-economic environment characterised by some of the highest inflationary pressures in years and foreign currency shortages.

As a result, the companies have been operating well below capacity. But now we need to boost that capacity.

Agriculture, the bedrock of Zimbabwe’s economic prosperity, has also been severely affected by lack of foreign currency to import raw materials needed for inputs.

The lucrative tourism industry, which earns the country significant proceeds, has also been upset as the political situation scared away potential visitors. But now, the country has indeed opened a new chapter where both domestic and foreign investors should claim a stake in various sectors of our economy.

This is the time for those investors who for sometime had retreated, or have been sitting on the fence to now jump on the economic bandwagon.

We need more investments not only in infrastructure such as roads and electricity, but also in water, energy, manufacturing, mining, tourism and agricultural sectors.

The spirit in the political parties involved in the talks should be such that they should be sending out a message to the whole world that Zimbabwe is on the road to a political settlement and trade and investment should take place.

We are convinced that by signing the talks agreement, the leadership of the main political parties has pledged its sincerity to ensuring that the country achieves the much-needed political and economic stability.

And what the country needs now is renewed commitment from business to get the economy out of its current doldrums within the shortest period possible.

We remain optimistic that Zimbabwe will achieve significant economic transformation.

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