‘Value chains can uplift rural economies’

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Rural School
Rural School

HARARE – Zimbabwe should increasingly look within for development and harness national resources for inclusive growth in the absence of an international bailout.

However, for that inclusive growth to occur there is need to strengthen institutions and put in place key policies to govern the national resources management chain and pay particular focus to rural economy development, a South African-based businessman has said.

Given Manyere, who runs heavy machinery supply operations in four countries within the region said that value of the country’s natural resources easily dwarfs other sources of capital such as remittances and aid. He said the Germans were able to develop their economy in the early 1930s after a period of economic failure only because of the use of effective internal economic motivation.

Manyere also called for the adoption of smart specialisation for the rural economy, which has proven successful in countries such as United States, Canada and Japan. The concept allows focusing not on individual sectors of the agricultural economy, but on certain activities of economic entities.

“If smart specialization was adopted, a tomato paste industry can easily be created in Mashonaland East, which can help reduce poverty levels in the area.”

This, he said, would be in line with the National Development Strategy (2021-25), which emphasises value chain and devolved economies. Manyere noted that at present rural areas lack economic power and even if some of them have valuable natural resources and good agricultural produces, they fall prey to powerful firms who set the rules of the game in the value chain.

He said that value chain development of rural areas has been successful in South American countries such as Nicaragua, Guatemala and Brazil.

He noted that much effort occurs at state level to address important development issues. “These issues, including fiscal policy, the trade position of the country and the development policy, are all critical to development in both rural and urban areas. But oftentimes rural leaders need to understand the impact these issues may have on their local economic development efforts.”

Manyere said rural leaders need to know what policies and strategies are possible to guide economic development at the local level.

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