The President of Zimbabwe, E.D. Mnangagwa, delivered the 2022 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on the 23rd of November 2022. He delivered it from the new parliament building in Mt Hampden. He was also opening the 5th Session of the 9th Parliament of Zimbabwe. Here are some of the highlights of what the President in SONA:
Foreign Currency Earnings
For the eight months up to the 31st of August 2021, foreign currency earnings stood at US$5.8 million. For the eight months up to the 31st of August 2022, foreign currency earnings stood at US$7.7 billion. This represents a 32.4 per cent increase in foreign currency earnings.
The President said that as of the 30th of September of 2022, ZWL$ 9.5 billion worth of gold coins had been sold. Recently smaller denominations of gold coins were unveiled. This, he said, is meant to make the more accessible.
The President said the government is targeting over 3 million farmers in Zimbabwe. This is under the Presidential Input Programme. The thrust is to equip those farmers with the relevant inputs. The inputs will be tailored to the agroecological regions in question. The key focuses are on the production of cereals, oilseeds, and legumes. The initiative is being rolled out from the grassroots level.
I like that the President says that the economy is growing faster than the power supply. This shows the acknowledgement that the power situation in Zimbabwe needs to be addressed. He indicated that the Hwange Unit 7 is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2022. An additional 300 MW is scheduled to be made available from Unit 8. This is projected to happen by the beginning of April 2023.
He also highlighted that there are plans to step efforts in renewable energy generation. It was refreshing to hear that and more action is needed. This is something I have been reiterating for quite a while now. I believe we must take solar energy generation more seriously. Let us tap into 10 000 GW of solar energy we can generate per year in Zimbabwe. We have barely scratched the surface of that aspect.
Appreciable Improvement In The Manufacturing Sector
Capacity utilization in the Zimbabwean manufacturing sector was 47 percent in 2020. This year it is currently at over 66 percent. The President expressed gladness that the manufacturing sector has rebound from the downward spiral during the pandemic. He attributed this current surge to the effectiveness of the Local Content Strategy.
It has led to the emergence of new products relevant to agriculture, mining, and transport. He indicated that 340 kilometres of the Harare-Beitbridge have been completed so far. Construction of the Mbudzi interchange is also currently ongoing. These are some of the infrastructural developments that are going to boost the manufacturing industry further.
Interesting Developments With State Enterprises And Parastatals
The President underscored the importance of these entities in economic development. As such, he said they need to ensure they operate efficiently and profitably. In pursuit of that, some of these state enterprises and parastatals have made some structural adjustments. For example, the Grain Marketing Board was demerged.
The Strategic Grain Reserve is no longer with the Commercial division. The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is now standalone. The Airports Company of Zimbabwe is now standalone. He also cited that the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is being boosted through a series of joint ventures.
Some Notable Achievements – ‘Firsts’
2022 Population and Housing Census
He mentioned the successful completion of the 2022 Population and Housing Census. This was the first ever in Zimbabwe to be done digitally. It was also the first in Zimbabwe to be completed and preliminary results were released in less than three months.
ZIMSAT-1 Launched Into Space
Another noteworthy mention was the recent launch of Zimbabwe’s first satellite into space, ZIMSAT-1. He expressed excitement about how this will contribute immensely to agriculture, mining, weather forecasting, and land management.
On The E-Government System
This has been long overdue in Zimbabwe. The President said that the government is prioritizing that. Under normal circumstances, you should be able to get permits, licenses, and personal documents online. There is absolutely no need, especially in this digital age, to physically visit and stand in a queue at a government office for that. We highly anticipate the rollout of such an e-government system.
These are some of the noteworthy business highlights of the Zimbabwe SONA 2022. For me, the two most exciting things were the mention of renewable energy and the e-government system. I am confident these are two of the things that can revolutionize our way of life in Zimbabwe. I look forward to concrete developments in those regards.