Government is pinning hopes on entrepreneurship and job creation as part of initiatives to reverse devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The outbreak of the Covid-19 has resulted in economic problems and has widened social inequalities in the country and the rest of the developing world.
Job losses, disruption to critical value chain supplies, low production and trade disruptions due to movement restrictions, have caused a strain to economic growth.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, acknowledged the challenges brought by the pandemic, creating scope for more efforts to be channelled towards employment creation to enhance economic stability. Worldwide, economies are seized with ways of reversing the effects of Covid-19 pandemic at a time funding and access to capital are a challenge.
Some civil society experts believe this is the time developing countries need more aid to avert the challenges compounded by the pandemic.
But the Treasury boss is pinning hopes on entrepreneurship for job creation and economic turnaround.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has hampered the potential of the economy to create jobs that was espoused in the 2020 National Budget. This unfinished agenda will be carried forward in 2021 with focus on job creation through promotion of entrepreneurship,” said Minister Ncube in the 2021 Budget Strategy.
The Covid-19 induced challenges are not unique to Zimbabwe alone, but a global crisis whose effects are felt especially in developing nations.
The pandemic has caused a huge setback for global development where poverty levels and inequality are rising especially among the vulnerable groups.
Experts say this is the time for renewed international solidarity as part of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic means international aid has never been more important,” said Oxfam International interim executive director José María Vera.
But a report by Oxfam titled “Fifty Years of Broken Promises” is however, an eye opener that shows over reliance on international support like donor funding can be detrimental as the funders may choose to default on their promises leaving developing countries exposed to more challenges.
The Oxfam report shows that in the last 50 years, the world’s economic super powers have defaulted on their promises to assist developing countries, having failed to deliver over US$5 trillion pledged to avert economic challenges in developing nations. Only five countries, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK met their targets of giving 0,7 percent of their GDP towards international aid in 2019, while other wealthy nations managed only 3 percent.
Aid watchdog activist Adrian Chikowore, also highlighted the risk of relying on aid as it may end up serving the interests of the donors themselves.
He said: “Aid has predominantly been tied and has been serving the interests of donor countries.
As a result of this, an estimated $24bn of development aid was finding its way back to donor countries, a spectre which development effectiveness practitioners point out as a loss of business and the undermining of the domestic private sector in low-income countries.”
For Zimbabwe, the answer lies in domestic resource mobilisation, infrastructure development, agriculture, tourism and job creation with a bias towards upliftment of youths and women, according to the 2021 Budget Strategy.