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Industrialisation of provincial economies


THE rapid modernisation and industrialisation of provincial economies is key to creating inclusive growth, local employment opportunities, eradicating poverty and ensuring that provincial economies are the ultimate beneficiaries of their factor endowments. It is, therefore, critical that our provinces are geared to taking full responsibility of their own developmental objectives given their unique factor endowments, needs, population profiles and geography.

The key success factors must include:

Provinces knowing the extent of their key assets which they have, be it land, minerals culture or human capital per district. This requires thorough research and documentation of what each of our provinces are endowed with at district level. A partnership with local academic institutions as encouraged by the President will play an important role. The collection and dissemination of key statistical information, for example, will have to be done by each province so that we are able to measure progress.

Agriculture and mining resources in each province must be fully exploited to the benefit of locals. The allocation of land assets, for example, must also prioritise local ownership, so should the issue of mineral claims and rights. We must stop extraction of wealth from our provinces without locals benefiting. Tourism is also a quick win sector in most of our provinces and so the upgrade and marketing of tourism assets including cultural tourism must not be outsourced to Harare.

Provinces need to create an awareness of the investment opportunities per sector which are within. In Manicaland, for example, in 2019 we published an Invest in Manicaland magazine showcasing to potential investors, both local and international, the investment opportunities which exist in that province. Unfortunately, this has since not continued for various reasons, the main one being leadership.

Added to this, each province must have its own “one stop investment centres” where potential investors can engage. This will require building or recruiting a local skills base and having the administrative capacities to deal with investors at provincial level. Investors must be continually encouraged to partner with locals.

Key will be the ability of the provinces to effectively market and promote themselves to their target markets. A marketing and promotion strategy will have to be in place for each province and be driven to promote local economic development and investment.

Provinces need a comprehensive developmental plan. Each province must, therefore, have a deliberately compiled developmental plan which looks at the key sectors and how each sector is going to be developed over the next five, 10 or 20 years.

Core to this plan must be industrialisation through value addition and beneficiation. When we industrialise we use our primary products to produce or manufacture processed or finished goods and we create high income sustainable jobs and thus reduce poverty.

Each province must have job creation strategies. Creating local jobs boosts local economic activities and local disposable incomes and further creates other downstream opportunities, thus creating inclusive growth. Many a time our provinces award local contracts or source goods from elsewhere, thus limiting local economic growth opportunities.

This also includes big businesses who continue to starve local provincial economies of opportunities. Local empowerment in all sectors must be a deliberate provincial policy and must be monitored and measured regularly.

Each province must have a clear poverty alleviation strategy which is unique and tailor-made to suit its needs. We have, in the past, left issues of poverty and food security to development partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or to central I government. The extent of poverty and lack must be a well-known and monitored statistic at district level in order to measure progress.

Engagement with NGOs is critical and a joint poverty alleviation strategy will be key. It is critical that each province achieves youth and women empowerment. We need organised youth and women groups in every province and they must take responsibility for their own economic emancipation and not wait for Harare to determine progress. Access to information and capital will be key. The national youth policy must be implemented at provincial level.

Access to world-class education and health also needs to be localised. We must see major hospitals being established in every province while educational institutions must also be available at local level. To date, we have done well with universities, but we need more learning and research institutions in each province. Developmental research, innovation hubs, incubators and technical colleges are critical ingredients for future growth.

Educational institutions must also be involved in developmental and industrialisation initiatives at provincial level.

We then have the issue of ease of doing business at provincial level. All public institutions must change their culture and behaviours to improve on turn around. The processing of documentation and approval of projects and licences must be benchmarked and continuously improved upon. For example, the issue of passports, identification documents, birth and death certificates, tax certificates including all key documentation must be done at provincial level. This will require use of information communication technologies by well-trained and competent civil servants. Training and capacity building will, therefore, be key.

Having said the above, nothing will come of all this unless each province is able to attract its own developmental and investment capital. Provincial developmental and industrialisation venture funds are going to be critical. This will require provinces to go out there and attract own investors. This will require provinces to package themselves as viable investment destinations to attract private capital. This will also require local funds management, deal structuring and investment capacities.

Of course, the business sector within each province will have a central role to play to achieve provincial developmental objectives. The various business associations and chambers at provincial level must, therefore, be self-organised and autonomously be able to exploit new opportunities without the need to continually refer elsewhere. A partnership between provincial government and the private sector at provincial level is important so that all stakeholders work towards collective goals of local social and economic development.

Leadership by Provincial Affairs ministers remains a factor which will determine whether each province is going to meet its developmental objectives and contribute towards national gross domestic product. This requires proactive and informed ministers who are aware of economic imperatives and have capacity to intervene and expedite. Ministers will, therefore, need support structures and actors within the province to implement projects. Project management, implementation and monitoring skills are required.

The make-up of and their experience, attitude and paradigm will also play an important role.

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