President Cyril Ramaphosa recently visited Zimbabwe to cement bilateral ties and discuss economic cooperation issues with his counterpart President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
He assured the neighbouring country that South Africa was eager to work with Zimbabwe in addressing the socio-economic challenges.
This visit is seen as crucial for both countries since the fall of Robert Mugabe in a ‘military led’ change of guard in November 2017. Mugabe had been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain in 1980 and was the oldest actively serving leader in the world. In his watch the once thriving economy collapsed, forcing millions of Zimbabweans to seek survival in other countries, including South Africa.
There are two to three million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa.
Here are 7 reasons why a revived economy of Zimbabwe bodes well for the Southern Africa region, and Mzansi in particular:
- It will strengthen Zimbabwe’s efforts to return the country to prosperity and hitherto pride of place as “Africa’s bread basket.”
- The government and people of Zimbabwe can focus on creating more jobs by making Zimbabwe more attractive and welcoming to foreign investors.
- The three million Zimbabweans working and living in South Africa would have an opportunity to return to their motherland to contribute to the rebuilding of their country. That would have the reciprocal effect of starting the journey of opening up more job prospects and socio-economic cooperation for the peoples of the two countries.
- It will put currency to calls on Zimbabweans in the diaspora to return home to put the skills that they have acquired in South Africa and elsewhere to great use in the rebuilding the Zimbabwean economy and development of their motherland.
- Zimbabweans, working with the international community, would strengthen the process to revive key sectors like mining, tourism and commercial agriculture to fight poverty and move towards middle income status in a reasonable space of time.
- Zimbabwe’s return to normalcy will strengthen regional integration, a key component for sustainable development. It can promote economic growth, reduce poverty, foster social development and political stability within SADC.
- Through deepened social, economic and political interaction among Southern African nations lasting solutions could be found to urgent challenges facing the global community – terrorism, climate change, underdevelopment, public health, scientific development.
Whatever the outcome of Zimbabwe’s economic revival strategies, it is common consensus that it will take time for the country to get back on its feet and that will be based on how the government and social partners manage the delicate transition.