Development Challenges in the Context of Zimbabwe

Topics: Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai Pages: 14 (5111 words) Published: September 15, 2010

Zimbabwe as a developing state has a number of developmental challenges that emanate from different quarters within the parameters of its political, social, economic, technological and environmental set ups. This factors which are both historical and current intermingle in arresting development as to be discussed.

To begin with, the past corporate driven global economic policy termed the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme of 1991 and the ratification of various trade agreements like the SADC Trade Protocol, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), among others are the starting points for discussing the development challenges that Zimbabwe faces today because their implementation had a long term negative contribution to the social, political, economic, political and environmental challenges that we are faced with today. Prior to ESAP, the government subsidized commercial food production, provided agricultural infrastructure, inputs and credit directed mainly for maize production. With the introduction of ESAP in 1991, the government opened the agricultural sector to a market forces as dictated by the trade liberalization policies. Its introduction marked a paradigm policy shift from the state led development of the 1980s to market based economic system. This resulted in massive cuts on government expenditure and its support for essential service in the fields of education, health. It also eliminated support for producers and consumers. Due to lack of government support in the agricultural sector, which was the backbone of the country, the sector started to dwindle in performance and this together with successive droughts and an agrarian reform that was poorly planned which commenced in 2000, the country had to rely on food imports which created a big budget deficit and took away the resources which could have otherwise been channeled towards development. ESAP created a large pool of unemployed people due to company closures and this was the initial start up of the problems the country is reeling from presently.

The country has not had a stable political environment emanating from the problems of ESAP. Victims of ESAP associated its effects to poor planning on the part of the ruling ZANU PF party and voices of dissent grew culminating in the formation of a labour backed party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which was formed in 1999. The party presented a big challenge to the ruling ZANU PF government. There started to develop intolerance and political polarization in the country as a result of the ideological differences between the two parties. After successive elections, the two parties, ZANU PF led by President Robert MUGABE, MDC Tsvangirai faction together with another splinter group of the original MDC, which is led by Arthur MUTAMBARA finally formed an All Inclusive Government (AIG) in February 2009 through efforts of the regional bodies and the African Union as a way to stabilize the deteriorating socio-political and economic situation that was now obtaining in the country due to the polarization among the parties. This development was aimed at bringing stability and rebuild the country which had suffered at all fronts. While the AIG had some successes in its objectives, the mistrust and lack of tolerance among the working parties is threatening to wash away the little confidence that the international donor community had started to develop in Zimbabwe and thereby retarding the receipt rate for foreign direct investment to create employment in the country. Lack of direct foreign investment has led to high unemployment levels and lack of viable foreign business partnership in key economic fields like electricity generation where the sole generator of electricity, ZESA is failing to supply the market thereby subjecting the country to constant power cuts which...
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