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Zimbabwe can take inspiration from Rwanda-New Pres Mnangagwa

His inauguration speech, Zimbabwe’s new President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, largely touched on policy direction, much welcomed far and wide but was scant on detail. At least he did not promise paradise, such as Mugabe’s and ZANU-PF’s bold assertion of delivering 2,25 million jobs by 2018.

Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sworn in as the third president of Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980, taking the oath of office in front of 70,000 people in Harare’s main sports stadium.

Mnangagwa raised a loud cheer when he pledged that “free and fair elections” would be held next year as scheduled and that the “people’s voice would be heard”.

On the inauguration day he said:”

Some countries have managed to emerge from far worse circumstances than we are in.Take Rwanda for instance. When Paul Kagame took over east African country in 1994, it was a shell of a nation decimated by war. The people of Rwanda were hugely divided and demoralized after more than 1 million people had been killed in one of the most brutal genocides on record.

Fast forward to today, and Rwanda has managed to get over its dark past and it is in a different space altogether. It is ranked amongst the powerhouses of the continent. Rwanda’s economy is largely based on agriculture (tea and coffee). More than four-fifths of the population is involved in small-scale farming but with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, Rwanda has been able to make important economic and structural reforms which have seen its economy grow at an average of 8 percent over the last decade.

On the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, Rwanda is ranked 56 out of 190 countries. It is considered the second easiest place to start a business after Mauritius. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is flowing into Rwanda reaching some $410 million in 2016. In contrast, Zimbabwe received $319 million during the same year.

Zimbabwe is in a better place today than where Rwanda was 22 years ago. It is endowed with enviable natural resources and minerals. We have a highly skilled labour force and a young, vibrant and creative population eager to make up for lost time. The potential is immense . Since 2013, Zimbabwe has completed three Staff Monitored Programmes (SMP) under the IMF. Such an SMP, while it is an informal arrangement where IMF staff assess a country’s economic situation, make recommendations and periodically review its progress in implementing reforms, gives pointers to where the economy should be heading.

In all these programs the IMF has consistently maintained that Zimbabwe needs to make painful but necessary adjustments – cut government expenditure and reform state owned enterprises and parastatals

The 75-year-old former spy chief was fired by Robert Mugabe as vice-president nearly three weeks ago, a tactical error by the ageing autocrat that triggered a military takeover, his impeachment by parliament, and finally his resignation on Tuesday.

The Express News

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