As a Corporate lawyer in Zimbabwe, I am frequently asked by prospective and current investors: “What does the future hold for Zimbabwe’s economy?” In thinking about the answer to the above question, my mind haphazardly touched on various factors which I thought would be key to trying to find an answer to the future of Zimbabwe’s economy. In the end, I settled on 3 areas that I believe are crucial to helping to find an answer about what the future holds for Zimbabwe’s economy:
- Monetary – should Zimbabwe abandon the US Dollar and introduce a new local currency?
- Political – where do we go post-elections (and the subsequent Constitutional Court proceedings)?
- Legal – how can a corporate law firm in Zimbabwe like Manokore Attorneys meaningfully impact the direction that Zimbabwe’s economy goes in?
I am no economist, but I strongly believe that Zimbabwe can no longer sustain itself on the US Dollar (or rather the basket of currencies which form a part of our multicurrency system). However, to do so Zimbabwe needs to implement suitable market conditions necessary for currency reforms. Chief amongst these market conditions is improving production in the country; because as it stands Zimbabwe cannot progress economically without having the necessary macro-economic fundamentals in place. Without wanting to simplify the issue too much, the introduction of a new local currency only makes sense if production in Zimbabwe is healthy, which in turn could help assuage internal and external fears about remitting funds outside Zimbabwe, and irresponsible printing of money.
It is imperative that whatever the final result of the recent elections, Zimbabwe’s politicians and policymakers recognise the key role that they play in positively (and, indeed, negatively) impacting the Economy by implementing investor-friendly policies in the country. The Government’s amendments to Zimbabwe’s indigenisation legislation at the beginning of 2018 was, I believe, one of the first crucial steps in helping to ensure that Zimbabwe introduces policy reforms that are geared to improving investor (domestic and foreign) certainty and confidence in Zimbabwe.
It is my view that corporate law firms in Zimbabwe who principally understand the needs of decision-makers in the public and private sectors, and who can find a happy medium between the two, have a crucial role to play in helping to shape the future of Zimbabwe’s economy. In this way, corporate law firms in Zimbabwe have a dual role in helping to shepherd Zimbabwe’s economy in the right direction: on the one hand, corporate law firms are ideally placed to guide investor’s through Zimbabwe’s investment and business landscape, whether this is in respect of the Mining sector in Zimbabwe, the Tourism and Hospitality sector in Zimbabwe or the Manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe; and on the other hand, corporate law firms can help protect the interests of the Government and the citizens of Zimbabwe by ensuring that there is full recognition, appreciation and respect for the regulatory and compliance framework in Zimbabwe by those wishing to do business in Zimbabwe.