Yes! Indigenisation will work

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2095

“NO programme will help small farmers if it is designed by those who have no knowledge of their problems and operated by those who have no interest in their future.” The above is a frank assessment of the skewed operations of the World Bank and the unfair and unbalanced way it does business with developing countries. This was said by Robert McNamara during his time at the helm of the World Bank in 1973. What we learn from McNamara’s assessment is that people must control their destiny. It is not a secret that when God created the world, he gave man domain over his land and natural resources so that he could make a living out of these gifts. This is what is happening with the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme. Whites do not want the land and the economy to be controlled by the locals because this will in their eyes set a bad precedent in Africa. This is why on December 21 2001 and February 18 2002 the United States and the European Union respectively imposed illegal economic sanctions against Zimbabwe so that those who initiated the land reform and indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes are removed from power to be replaced by people they could control. The success of the land reform programme is evident when 300 000 previously economically marginalised families are given land and brought into the country’s mainstream economy. This explains the unnecessary apprehension and fierce resistance that has greeted the gazetting of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act in the West because unlike in previous years when the economy was in the hands of only a few elite, the whites, now it is the majority blacks that will have greater control. It is Zimbabweans that will benefit from the programme and for the first time Zimbabwe will have a home-grown and locally stimulated economic growth. A certain Makari, writing from South Africa, says the land reform is the cause of the country’s economic collapse and that indigenisation will not work because it scares investors away. His article was published in the Zimbabwe Independent ‘Quoted Companies Survey 2011’ last week. In his article, Makari says: “Due to land reform, Zimbabwe broke hyperinflation world records and the unemployment rate has come from under 20 percent in the 90s to 94 by 2010.” Makari deliberately chose to ignore the fact Zimbabwean farmers have struggled in an economy that is hamstrung by the debilitating effects of the illegal economic sanctions through lack of both financial and technical support which is crucial for agricultural development and yet they have made significant contributions to the economy. In contrast, the white farmers that he supports and says were successful got long-term loan facilities from banks like Barclays Bank to develop their projects. The loans were sometimes repaid after 15 years, cushioning them from challenges like drought which have affected our farmers. Makari must be reminded of these facts. On indigenisation, which Makari fears will ‘scare’ investors away, the world must know that no investor from the West bothered to invest in Zimbabwe over the past decade because they perceived the country to be a high-risk zone. Also, Section 4 (c ) of the United States sanctions law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) of 2001, bars any potential investor from that country from investing in Zimbabwe. So, talk of potential investors being scared away by the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. The reluctance by the West to let Africans run their economies is revealed in the following disheartening statistics. In South Africa, whites constitute 10 percent of that country’s 45 million people yet they control 69 percent of companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, 27 percent is in foreign hands while just 4 percent is controlled by blacks. In Nigeria where, in spite of the Federal Government imposing levies of between 50 percent and 80 percent tax on company profits, foreign-owned firms still claim shockingly high profits with Exxon Mobil making a whopping US$1 300 in profits per second, Royal Dutch US$990 per second, British Petroleum US$660 per second, Chevron US$590 per second and Total raking in US$570 per second. However, on the positive side the 2008 survey revealed that small businesses account for over 70 percent of the total number of small enterprises in developing countries and employ 60 percent of the population. This is exactly the path that Zimbabwe’s indigenisation programme is taking as it encourages the establishment of small enterprises. So whatever doubts Makari and all who are opposed to the land reform and indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes have, those doubts must be put to rest because, yes, indigenisation works. Makari must also be reminded that indigenisation is not nationalisation. What happened with the land reform programme was sharing the land. The 51-49 percent equity demanded in the indigenisation legislation is certainly not nationalisation.

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