Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) is an economic blueprint that was crafted by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) government in 2013 as part of its developmental and political campaign initiative. It was enshrined in the party's manifesto as part of its long term development agenda. The blueprint began to be implemented as government policy from October 2013 soon after the presidential elections.
The birth is of the Zim Asset blueprint in Zimbabwe can be understood from the socio, political and economic atmosphere of the country in the period towards the 2013 harmonised elections. The policy was crafted by ZANU PF senior leaders and enshrined into the party' campaign manifesto which promised among other things empowerment of the youths, rehabilitation or roads, schools, provision of health services to all the citizens, shelter and creation of employment especially for the youths. The policy was subsequently endorsed by the cabinet in October 2013 a few months after the elections. Patrick Chinamasa who was the newly appointed head of the Ministry of Finance was on the fore-front of campaigning for the adoption of the policy by the cabinet soon after the elections. It was because of his relentless campaign that the document was formally adopted by government.
Purpose of the Zim Asset Initiative
The purpose of the Zim Asset document can be understood from its meaning; the need to attain sustainable socio-economic transformation in the four key clusters which are:
- Food security and nutrition;
- Social services and poverty reduction;
- Infrastructure and utilities; and
- Value addition and beneficiation.
Food Security and Nutrition
According to the blueprint Food Security and Nutrition revolves around the country's food producing and processing capabilities. There is also emphasis on the importance of expanding the country's agriculture through a number of ways such as provision of adequate inputs and value addition of agricultural products such as cotton and tobacco. Value addition involves processing of primary agricultural products into secondary consumable products in order to increase the standard and quality of the product which will ultimately fetch a higher prices on the international market. The ultimate goal of the Zim Asset in this regard is to restore Zimbabwe's bread basket status producing food enough to sustain not only the country but the whole region of Southern Africa.
Social Services and Poverty Reduction
The main thrust of the Social Services and Poverty Eradication cluster is to enable the Government of Zimbabwe to improve the living standards of the citizenry for an empowered society and a growing economy. It also endeavours to reduce poverty by creating employment opportunities for the youths in particular through its various initiatives. This chapter incorporates the following ministries; Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. This cluster has the following key areas;
- Access to basic health services
- Indigenization and economic empowerment;
- Access to water and sanitation;
- Access to land and agricultural inputs;
- Employment creation;
- Gender mainstreaming;
- Information communication technology;
- Resource mobilization.
Infrastructure and Utilities
The Infrastructure and Utilities cluster focuses on plans to restore sanity in the country's key assets as well as the recovery of the key utility services. Under this category, the Zim Asset blueprint gives precedence to restoration of the following aspects;
- Water and Sanitation infrastructure;
- Public Amenities;
- Information Communication Technology (ICT);
- Energy and Power Supply;
- Transport (road, rail, marine and air.
Value addition and beneficiation
This chapter under the Zim Asset initiative attends to the need to re-establish the country's manufacturing industry in areas of energy production, agriculture and industry. There is also emphasis on value addition in the country's minerals such as gold, diamonds and platinum. This, according to Zim Asset, will be done through establishment of diamond polishing centres, establishment of agro-processing plants and strengthening the implementation of bio-fuels.
The Zim Asset has been described as a flawed policy by both economists and politicians. Economists and academics criticised the very foundations of the policy by arguing that it was crafted at a time when political tension was very high and thus there was need to win the support of the electorate in the face of the Movement for Democratic Change. Hence the crafting of the policy did not involve the relevant stakeholders such as health service providers, multi-national companies, farmers and the commercial services providers such as financial institutions. Thus it has been rubbished as just a ZANU PF document which was sneaked into government. Furthermore, the Zim Asset has suffered much politisation and manipulation especially during Robert Mugabe "star rallies" held from June to July in 2013 before the watershed 2013 harmonised election. Analysts have also condemned the blueprint arguing that companies have continued to close, inflation has not declined, and the government is threatening retrenching civil servants, increase in unemployment rates and increase in poverty especially among the rural peasants. Thus by 2014, only a year after the document was adopted, some critics had already dismissed the blueprint as a flawed policy.
Only a year after 2014, the ZANU PF had already indicated that the Zim Asset had attained plausible success in most regards. Finance and Economic Development former Deputy Minister, Samuel Undenge, said Government’s efforts of turning around the country through Zim Asset had started in earnest within a year since the launching of the blueprint.
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