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the enclave and ZCTU-s revisited 'sustainable development'
social contract for Zimbabwe
November 22, 2011
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) recently launched a new book,
Beyond the Enclave, Toward a Pro-poor and Inclusive Development
Strategy for Zimbabwe. The book, which has been well received by
members of the affiliate trade unions, is an important and timely
academic reminder of the broad socio-economic challenges that Zimbabweans
It is also a
book that must be read with patience and attention to detail because
it outlines what can be considered fundamental flaws within our
national economy, both in relation to immediate post-independence
Zimbabwe, the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) years
and in what has been described as the crisis years in the 2000-s
through to the 'transitional years- from 2009 to present
It must also
be noted that the study was also compiled with the assistance of
Zimbabwe's labour think tank, Labour and Economic Development Research
Institute (LEDRIZ) as well as the Alternatives to Neo-Liberalism
in Southern Africa (ANSA), organisations that both have strong links
with labour issues in the Southern African region.
analysis of the book is that Zimbabwe's national economy faces the
challenge of being characterized by a 'dual- and an
'enclave' economy. By this, the ZCTU argues that the 'dual-
nature of our economy is to be found in its formal and informal
components, wherein, there is a large unused labour force in the
informal sector and a privileged few in the formal. Either way,
as the research contends, such a framework leads to a continuation
of poverty of the many and the perpetuation of privilege for the
few. The 'enclave- economy, to attempt at simplification,
is referred to as that which is more or less the gate keeping of
the benefits to be accrued from the national wealth by the few on
the basis of not only the inherited colonial economy but also the
liberalisation of the 1990s.
And it is because
of such a skewed economy that the book calls for a re-think of various
facets of the national development policy. It therefore itemizes
land, trade, mining, agriculture, gender equality, social welfare,
education, trade, the labour market and manufacturing amongst others,
as key areas that are in need of urgent attention and reform if
the country is to return to a path of sustainable development.
On the issue
of land, the ZCTU calls for a comprehensive land policy in tandem
with a land audit. There is mention, in part, that the land reform
process, is now irreversible, as agreed to by the three political
parties in the inclusive government. In the proposal for a new land
policy, there is the proposal that the issue of land tenure be finalized
in order for the administration of land to be less driven by politicians
but by democratic and people driven local government structures.
In relation to social welfare, the book urges policy makers to be
cognizant of the importance of investing in health, education, and
general infrastructure that relates to public transport in order
to diminish poverty as well as to create employment.
On trade, it
urges that there be a much more cautious approach to foreign direct
investment (FDI) where there is less of an open sesame approach
and one that takes into account the lessons of the ESAP years. For
the ZCTU, any trade related investment in the country must be tied
to infrastructural development, commitment to good governance, as
well as the importance of all stakeholders accepting that the state
must intervene in the market to ensure that social welfare is not
undermined in the name of 'free market' capitalism. Instead, the
argument of the labour body is that it remains imperative that the
state be allowed the right to intervene in the market in order to
keep poverty at bay. It however recommends that any changes to the
multiple currency regime in Zimbabwe should be long term policies
and should be premised on either making Zimbabwe part of the Rand
Monetary Area or pegging the new Zimbabwe dollar against gold reserves.
The study also
emphasises the importance of prioritising gender and gender related
issues in all national economic programmes with particular emphasis
on protecting women from the scourge of endemic poverty as well
as understanding the importance of reigning in the informal economy
which affects women the most. The proposition given is that there
should be a national gender policy, the engendering of all national
policies, the stepping up of social welfare funding and the improvement
of property ownership/tenure and access to resources by all women.
to social welfare, the study insists on the expansion of social
protection mechanisms to prevent people from sliding further into
poverty. These would include a much more comprehensive social security
cover scheme, a national health insurance framework, all to be funded
by a partnership between government and donors.
the book also goes on to cover areas that include mining, financial
services and science and technology frameworks. All of which are
alluded to in what can be described as the 'sustainable development'
model, a-la-cart the new World Bank and IMF thinking around the
of this new approach, the study emphasizes the need for Zimbabwe
to learn from international experiences and knowledge production
around economic reforms, liberalization as well as the role of the
state in a national economy.
All of the arguments
presented in the book are well argued even though they are primarily
aimed at a new negotiated approach to economic reform in Zimbabwe.
The approach of the ZCTU is now one that can be considered less
radical, and more in sync with global thinking on what is sustainable
development and economic reform.
Most of the
recommendations in the book appear to be social democratic in ideological
intent but are cautious on making this point patently clear. This
is probably because the book is intended for audiences beyond the
workers, and therefore essentially assuages any fears of further
radicalism emerging from the national labour union. It is a well
thought out attempt at a new approach to the economic crisis that
the country is facing.
it appears to borrow a lot from the World Bank, at other times it
remains grounded in the historicity of our national economic crisis.
It is however interesting to measure whether the inclusive government
will act beyond having merely attended the launch of the book. And
it also remains to be seen whether the ZCTU itself remains united
or strong enough to carry out the necessary policy lobbying, advocacy
to ensure that the set ore recommendations in each chapter of the
book are at least seriously considered by the government as well
as members of the public.
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