Thursday, March 09, 2017

Zimbabwe Government Partners University on Sanctions’ Impact Research
March 9, 2017
Nyemudzai Kakore
Herald Correspondent

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development yesterday signed a contract with the University of Zimbabwe to carry out research on the impact of Western-imposed sanctions on the country. The research is meant to determine the extent to which various sectors of the economy have been affected by the illegally imposed embargo.

Government availed $150 000 for the research that will be carried out by a UZ consortium in one year.

In its 2013 election manifesto, Zanu-PF estimated that sanctions cost Zimbabwe $42 billion in revenue. The United States promulgated the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act in 2001 and it has since been renamed Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, that cut all lines of credit from multilateral lending institutions, prompting an assault on and decimation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

The research team will be led by economist and chairman of the Department of Economics at the University of Zimbabwe, Dr Albert Makochekanwa.

Speaking after the signing of the contract, Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development secretary Ambassador Machivenyika Mapuranga said the research will outline the real impact of sanctions, so that the country would be able to make future informed decisions.

“The contract establishes a working relationship between the parties with the intent to commission a comprehensive report with the full results of an in-depth scientific study of the economic impact of Western-imposed, declared and undeclared sanctions on the ordinary people of Zimbabwe, as well as their effect on the SADC region,” he said. “The research will boost higher and tertiary education policy formulation significantly since it will clarify the status of Zimbabwe’s internal, as well as Diaspora-based human capital and skills development.”

Ambassador Mapuranga said in terms of the Manpower Planning and Development Act, the mandate of the ministry was to research, plan, develop and train human capital.

He said a balanced understanding of the economic impact of the sanctions was essential in guiding Zimbabwe’s industrialisation and modernisation approach, which is in line with the Southern Africa Development Community’s Agenda 2063.

UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said the research will also look at the environment that was destroyed by the impact of the sanctions and how the country could move forward.

He said UZ was honoured in winning the bid, hence they were going to do their best to maintain the standard of being the premium institute of the country. “We need to understand how that affected development in the country and draw some lessons,” said Prof Nyagura. “We will then need to find new strategies of how we can quickly remedy the deficiencies that then resulted from the consequences of the sanctions.

“Our country is well resourced with natural resources, minerals and yet we have not yet optimised its valuable resource we have in order to make Zimbabwe better and competitive.

“We need to know the major attractions that led to the flight of expertise from Zimbabwe to other countries and find strategies of bringing back millions of them home.”

The findings of the research are expected to be published in several international peer reviewed journals such as African Journal of Economic Policy, South African Journal of Economic History, Journal of Applied Sciences in Southern Africa and Journal of Human Capital.

The ministry called for proposals to carry out the study in September last year and nine proposals were submitted out of which seven met the basic criteria.

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