CAPE TOWN - As Zimbabweans celebrate victory following Robert Mugabe’s resignation, the embattled country now faces a new challenge, that of rebuilding itself.
The Zimbabwean economy has drastically declined during a 37-year rule by former President, Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe conceeded power on Tuesday, November 21. His former vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeded him despite Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe, positioning herself to stand second in line to the Zimbabwean presidencey.
Mugabe’s resignation has brought both relief and jubilationto Zimbabwe and nations beyond its borders, with Zimbabweans pouring onto the streets in jubilation. The celebration will only last so long.
"The new government and the government after the election in July, will have to win the confidence of investors to start real economic growth", said President of the Cape Chamber, Janine Myburgh.
Although there is a change in political rule, the country remains in tatters and in desperate need of revival.
"The most dramatic thing about the departure of former President Mugabe is the change of mood in the country. In a week it has swung from one of despondence and simmering anger to one of hope and even enthusiasm. The change of attitude will have an immediate and positive effect on the economy. There will be a sense of purpose and people will start to do things they were reluctant to do before", Myburgh added.
Another challenge is to persuade all the educated workforce who has fled Zimbabwe to return to their country. Myburgh says that the country faces the need for both economic rebuilding as well as psychological change. "Their skills are needed to fill gaps and to kick-start new ventures. In fact, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest assets is its pool of educated and skilled people", Myburgh said.
"The dependence of Zimbabweans on South Africa's wages has to change.There is very little to build on but things can only improve", Myburgh said.
This, however may be an even greater challenge considering that the country does not even have its own currency.
Meanwhile, the Head of Research at The Western Cape Investment and Trade and Promotion Agency (Wesgro), Cornelis van der Vaal said that Zimbabwe's future is entirely dependent on the right policies.
If the right policies are introduced, the following could happen:
"Inflow of forex, and direct investment, as the West in particular looks to support the new government in restoring the economy. Inflow of returning migrants into the region, as new economic opportunities start to emerge. Finally, increase in disposable incomes of the populous, further boosting growth", said van der Vaal.
Cornelis stressed that this change will only occur if decisive efforts are taken to ensure a functional and growing economy.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE