Can our indigenisation policy fuel economic sustainability?

The Zimbabwean government suggests that the current indigenisation programme is a new thing, hence one cannot use any policy in the world as a standard of comparison, However, there’s nothing new to this approach. In fact, it’s a continuation of other black empowerment policies all over Africa and has been re-manufactured to provide a convincing but false sense of reality to the Zimbabwean people.

Like neighbouring South Africa, the levels of inequality will rise in Zimbabwe because not all people can afford a clean takeover of companies. Only a handful of rich and well-connected members of the elite will benefit to any large degree from this programme, at the expense of the majority. And this will lead to an increase in social polarisation.

The government further claims that market solutions have failed, hence the need for government to intervene and foster economic growth through such policies as the indigenisation programme. This is, however, misleading to a great extent.

No-one can deny the important role of government in facilitating sustainable economic growth, but too much state intervention will corrupt the market.

Look at Zimbabwe before the 2008 era. It was gradually progressing, and after 2008 our economy went down. There are similar examples in China under Mao Zedong. The Chinese learnt from their mistakes and took a step back from extremist Marxism. The state needs to create a conducive environment for the market to prosper rather than tamper with it.

Another point is that, though one cannot deny that indigenisation allows for local participation in economics (which may possibly contribute to sustainable economic growth), this is highly unlikely in modern times.

As has been mentioned above, Marxist ideas are utopian. We now live in a global world where there is greater interdependency of nations. It will be unwise to assume that black empowerment through indigenisation is restricted to local parameters.

The elite nations of this world have managed to position themselves at the centre of global trade. As the fight to stay on the global economic treadmill gets tougher because of economic recessions in their countries, they have become agents of their multinational companies.

We cannot afford to forcibly buy shares from foreign investors and we cannot forcibly take over their companies, as this has invisible but damaging effects on our global trade.

Destroying global trade relations in search of political motivations moves the country’s economy backwards.

Because of the lack of proper implementation of such policies, we have become isolated from the rest of the world, leaving us with China as our only option. Yet, we cannot depend on China alone for foreign investments, as its only concern is also to become a global elite.

The relationship that exists between Zimbabwe and China is an exploitative one in which the Zimbabwean economy is the casualty.

The quest for sustainable economic growth is global as much as it is local. Economic sustainability for Zimbabwe means bringing the local and the global into harmony. Economic policies fuelled by ideology alone cannot drive Zimbabwe towards economic sustainability.

Post published in: Analysis

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