Harare, September 8, 2016: United States Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. says the partnership between his government and Zimbabwean institutions has laid the foundation for transparent, accountable and evidence based policy-making that will unlock Zimbabwe’s economic potential.
“Since 2011, the USAID-Strategic Economic Research and Analysis (USAID- SERA) program has partnered with a number of Zimbabwean institutions to promote transparent and accountable governance, laying the foundation for bringing stakeholders together for policy reform and making sure everyone has the tools and hard evidence on which to build well-researched arguments,” said Ambassador Thomas. “These are the necessary beginning steps of the creation and implementation of effective public policy that will promote inclusive socio-economic growth.”
The top United States diplomat in Zimbabwe addressed a meeting to mark the successful conclusion of a five-year economic policy program initiated in 2011 at the request of the Zimbabwe government following years of hyperinflation and economic decline. The program worked with government and non-governmental institutions to build the research capacity of public and private sector on economic policy issues. Among other notable achievements was scholarship support to Zimbabwean students to pursue graduate and postgraduate studies in economics at local and South African universities and the production of a series of research papers to inform policymaking.
Ambassador Thomas Jr. said despite the challenging environment, the partnership had resulted in a lot of achievements at local government and national government level which if built upon will unlock Zimbabwe’s economic potential. In the city of Harare, for example, the partnership eased the administrative burden on business owners resulting in Harare City Council reducing the time for a business license renewal from 54 days to 1 day through streamlining the forms, fees, and payment process
“Zimbabwe’s economy is in the hands of Zimbabweans,” said Ambassador Thomas. “GDP growth has dropped below 2 percent, unemployment is rising, and foreign direct investment is below $500 million per year and falling. The only road to economic recovery is through transparent pro-growth policies, enforcement of contracts, and rule of law,” he noted.
Since it started in 2011, USAID-SERA has supported many of Zimbabwe’s key economic institutions, including: the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Other institutions that the program partnered to develop research to inform key economic reform options and accompanying policy strategies were Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit, ZIMSTAT, Zimbabwe Investment Authority, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Small and Medium Enterprise Association of Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.
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