PDP Weekly Economic Policy Brief

Zimbabwe’s key economic enablers

Vince Musewe

Vince Musewe

So far, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) we have articulated our economic policies in three areas of our economic blue print HOPE or Holistic Program for Economic Transformation. These are on the prerequisites for macro-economic stability, on how to revive agriculture and on what needs to be done so that we can maximise benefits from our mining resources.

This week we deal with the fourth issue which covers the importance of the rehabilitation and development of a modern infrastructure so that we can attract investment, increase employment opportunities and ultimately realise economic growth

We have to re-engineer Zimbabwe. Where re-engineering means moving our country from an old paradigm that does not or is failing to meet our aspirations, to a new paradigm that creates new hope and can generate new ideas and rejuvenates our political leadership and our citizens to be more creative and enterprising in order to improve the quality of life for all.

One can easily tell the integrity of any government and its commitment to development and economic growth by the quality of the country’s infrastructure. You cannot hide failure.

Countries which are bogged down with corrupt governments tend to have a dilapidating infrastructure, terrible pot-holed roads, erratic power supply, bad quality water supplies and sewerage systems. They also tend to neglect their environment. They are also characterised by bad planning, inefficient use of resources, unnecessary red tape and wide spread corruption that increases the actual cost of infrastructure.

In Zimbabwe we face various challenges in that the deterioration of our physical infrastructure has been accompanied by lack of progress in building institutional management and regulatory capacities. These institutional and regulatory inadequacies have resulted in minimal amounts of investment by both the government and the private sector in basic infrastructure. The loss of skills has also contributed to a rapid deterioration of our infrastructure due to lack of maintenance.


The 2010 African Development Bank’s report on Zimbabwe’s infrastructure and growth, acknowledges that Zimbabwe’s economic growth and development cannot be achieved without the availability of appropriate economic and social infrastructure. The need to improve the quality of infrastructure services is, therefore the cornerstone for our future growth.

In general, infrastructure is defined as electricity, gas, telecoms, transport, water supply, sanitation and sewerage. While there is a reasonable agreement on

the positive impact of a well-developed infrastructure on economic growth, there is much less agreement on which infrastructure subsector matters the most under which circumstances.


In coming up with our infrastructural development plans it will therefore be important that we seriously consider the best model for our circumstances. We will need to consider which infrastructure has the most positive impact on growth and job creation and focus on that first so we can reposition our economy on a growth trajectory. There is however no doubt that direct investments in infrastructure stimulate economic activity and growth, reduce trade and transaction costs thereby can improve competitiveness while providing new employment opportunities.


It is estimated that Zimbabwe will need about $20 billion to rehabilitate its infrastructure. However, our priority as PDP will be on improving our institutional arrangements, public resources governance and project management capabilities first. The ability to project manage remains one of our weakest links as a country. As PDP we will ensure that we have the relevant skills in government to plan ahead and project manage major infrastructure projects to completion.

We must also deal with corruption ruthlessly before we can create an environment of accountability both in the private and public sectors. We must have an accountable government so that resources which are earmarked for infrastructure development are spent effectively and deliver quality output. That requires ethical political leadership, something we cannot expect from a predatory ZANU (PF) leadership.

The Zimbabwe we imagine is significantly different from our current reality and we do believe that Zimbabwe is at least 40 years (if not more) behind. This means that we will have to catch up rapidly and expedite the transfer of technologies both in the public and private sectors.




Zimbabweans in the Diaspora will have a critical role to play in the transfer of new knowledge and best management practice. As PDP we will incentivise the return of administration and project managers, planners, technicians, engineers and scientists from the Diaspora so that they can assist in our efforts to catch up to the rest of the world.


In addition we will have to come up with innovative funding models that include the private sector so that we can increase investment in new infrastructure without placing too much pressure on government revenues. The guideline is that we will need to invest at least 10% of our GDP in capital formation on a continuous basis while the rest comes from either the private sector or developmental partners.


Some of the priority areas will include ensuring that the country has the capacity to generate adequate power. We will therefore invest in new power generation capacity and new alternative energy technologies to sustain economic growth. With regard to rehabilitating our national road network, we will make use of the PPP model.


We will have to urgently rehabilitate our railways network to reduce the costs of transportation and alleviate the pressure on our national roads network. We will award concessions for the upgrade our airports to promote the growth of tourism. We will make substantial investment in storage and transport of water to meet increased demand from agriculture industry and households. We will also promote widespread access to reliable communications at reasonable cost for a majority of Zimbabweans. As PDP we believe that these are some of the key areas that will expedite our economic recovery.


In order to implement the above, institutional and regulatory reform will be key. This must include measures to streamline the regulation of basic infrastructure services, promote private investment in infrastructure assets and services, as well as training and other capacity building measures to expand the skills required within the public sector for continued effective oversight and management of the basic infrastructure of the country.


Our biggest challenge will of course be the rooting out of ZANU (PF) patronage and the dismantling of a looting machine which has cost the country so much.


The ZANU (PF) patronage culture remains our curse. A patronage system appoints people to positions of authority and responsibility not because they are competent or qualified for the job, but because they are loyal to political leaders. A patronage system leads to inefficient use of resources and human capital due to institutionalised corruption which has a huge negative impact on developmental objectives and the cost of developmental projects. People keep their jobs despite their lack of performance and positions are filled with cronies. There are no consequences for bad performance or incompetence. That is the curse of patronage that is arresting our potential as a country.


As PDP we are ready to create a Zimbabwe with a modern infrastructure that meets the aspirations and needs of our people but first we will have to deal with the ZANU (PF) legacy issues. Above all the rehabilitation and development of our infrastructure presents an opportunity for us to create millions of jobs and improve the quality of life of all. That is what we shall do.


Another Zimbabwe is possible!

Vince Musewe

 PDP Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs.


Post published in: Business

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *