Deputy News Editor
THE year 2020 ends this week amid renewed optimism among Zimbabweans for a brighter new year, predicated on the emerging economic stability and hope for a robust lift off.
For most Zimbabweans, this year was one to forget and remember at the same time owing to the devastating Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted everyday life, while it also presented opportunities for reinvention and rejuvenation.
The President implored Zimbabweans to progressively build on the gains made this year to fashion out a prosperous 2021.
In a holiday message to Zimbabweans posted on his Twitter handle, the President said next year promises better prospects.
“The year has been filled with challenges,” said the President.
“The threat of Covid-19 and its subsequent disruption of businesses and the economy has forced us all to reinvent and re-evaluate our normal lives.
“In spite of all this, you, the people of Zimbabwe, have conducted yourselves with dignity amidst these challenging times.
“Even in the face of quarantines, lockdowns and serious restrictions to our daily liberties, the hope and optimism of the Zimbabwean people prevailed.
“My hope is firmly anchored in Zimbabweans. I am certain that our collective action and shared vision can lead us to prosperity.
“Over and above everything, we need to thank the Almighty for opening up the heavens.
“In 2021, let us work our land, let us be the bread basket we used to be. I am certain that only maintaining our unity as a people of this nation will take us into the Promised Land.”
Speaking to The Sunday Mail separately, experts concluded that the new year would usher greater stability and growth.
Economic analyst and member of the Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee, Mr Eddie Cross, said the Zimbabwean economy was poised for double digit growth.
“I can see the real potential for double digit growth in 2021 and that is driven by three principal assumptions,” said Mr Cross.
“Number one, in agriculture: the increased crop that we have put into the ground this summer will see an increase in crop production.
“That assumption is rather solid now because we have had a very good start to the season and I think it will finish off reasonably well.
“We should see an increase in agricultural output.”
He said recovery of the tourism sector will propel the country towards a growth trajectory.
“The second assumption is that tourism will continue to recover.
“I say it will continue to recover because of the efforts made by the industry to attract domestic tourism, which have proven remarkably successful.
“And hotel occupancy in the resort areas is actually recovering quite well at the moment.
“Tourism is not that big – it constitutes about 12 percent of our economy – but the collapse of the sector in 2020 was around 100 percent in the second quarter.
“So, its recovery will add significantly to growth.
“The third assumption is that the mining industry will continue to expand and I think that reforms to the gold sector are critical.
“I think that the decision to partially privatise Fidelity Printers and Refinery is particularly critical.
“What should follow therefore is that we have got to start paying gold producers full international prices to stop smuggling and enable us to increase production substantially.”
Bright prospects for industry
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo said industry was now operating under a relatively stable environment.
He said expectations are that the environment will improve further next year.
“There is relative stability on all the fronts going into the new year,” said Mr Ruzvidzo.
“The promise of a good agricultural season and the higher levels of diaspora remittances and export receipts point to less pressure on foreign currency.
“The expectation therefore, is that the foreign currency auction system will be sustained.
“If shocks are avoided on the policy front, sustained stability of the macro environment is possible”.
He said Government’s intention to keep money supply growth in check and focus on import substitution points to improved conditions.
“More attention to enablers notably water supply is necessary.
“Improved access to capital for businesses is an area requiring attention and interventions to crowd in private capital in order to oil the productive sectors are important.
“Monetary policy interventions to encourage savings and contain cost of credit are needed.
“Improvement of the regulatory environment to facilitate enterprise has to be accelerated to get the necessary investment in the productive sectors.
“The changing African trade space presents opportunities, which the country can ill afford to miss,” Mr Ruzvidzo said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Mr Paul Zakariya said policy interventions introduced under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and support given to small holder farmers have transformed the face of the agriculture sector.
He said further policy tweaks in the new year will help invigorate growth of the sector.
“The operating environment has been very tough over the last few years,” said Mr Zakariya.
“Currency instability, subdued markets, unavailability of the right type of funding for agriculture in general and limited support services all contributed to the poor performance of the sub-sector.
“Measures that have been put in place through the TSP have yielded an improved operating environment where currency has, to a greater extent, stabilised.
“This has made planning a lot easier.
“For the 2020/21 season, expectations are quite high especially among the smallholder farmers.
“Government spearheaded a blitz to encourage conservation farming, which has grown to be known as Pfumvudza/Intwasa.”
He said rainfall distribution has, so far, been even, a development which will boost production.
“There is a need to continue to put in measures that will allow for the crowding in of the private sector in order to spread the agricultural finance risk as well as tap into wider finance bases and options.
“For the A1 and A2 categories, tenure documents must give comfort to financial institutions and would-be investors to freely engage.
“2021 is set to be a very different year from the previous years.
“The rains are giving a lot of hope and through conservation farming, which has proved in many cases to be reliable, we are set to bring in better harvests than before.
“With the recently announced pre-planting producer prices and a more stable macroeconomic environment, farmers’ incomes may be more reassuring.”
Political analysts and law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, said the likelihood of politically induced shocks next year were remote.
He said authorities should take advantage of the current political stability to finalise implementation of political reforms being driven through the Political Actors Dialogue platform.
“In 2021, we must achieve all the necessary electoral and political reforms under the Polad platform,” said Prof Madhuku
“We want to see the strengthening of Polad in order to achieve the political reforms because come the year 2023, we do not want to see anyone complaining about the playing field.
“We want these political reforms to anchor the economic reforms that are currently being implemented.”