Government has launched the Zimbabwe National Industrial Policy (ZNIDP), which is expected to help transform the economy through value addition, increasing employment levels and promoting a culture of savings.
The ZNIDP was launched last Friday by Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu.
Minister Ndlovu said through the ZNIDP, Government will ensure a conducive operating environment for the private sector, which is expected to spearhead the implementation of the key policy.
"So it's very important from the onset that when we set out to come up with these policies (ZNIDP and the Local Content Strategy), the people who are at the forefront of implementation are the private sector," said Minister Ndlovu.
The ZNIDP seeks to turn the manufacturing sector into a technologically advanced, competitive and diversified industry by 2030.
Critically, it intends to facilitate and promote the development of sustainable, innovative, inclusive and globally competitive industrial and commercial enterprises for improved consumer welfare and economic growth.
The strategic objectives of the ZNIDP include facilitating sustainable growth of industry, development of new industries and the transformation and diversification of the local industry.
Minister Ndlovu said specific policy objectives are to attain a manufacturing sector growth rate of at least 2 percent per year; contributing towards attainment of a gross domestic savings rate of about 30 percent of GDP; manufacturing value added growth of 16 percent per annum; merchandise export growth rate of 10 percent per annum to orient the manufacturing sector towards exports and generate capital for a high savings rate; and increasing the manufacturing sector share of employment to 20 percent in 2023.
Minister Ndlovu said they have a "very conservative target" in the manufacturing sector per year of 2 percent because he believes "in setting targets that are realistic, targets that are attainable".
The ZNIDP thrust will be two-pronged, anchoring on investment and innovation-led industrialisation with a deliberate emphasis on export growth to generate more foreign currency for the country.
Minister Ndlovu believes it is critical to have an ICT-led industrialisation to ensure the economy is "not left behind", but runs "neck to neck with the world".
"We also want to entrench competitiveness and we also want to diversify," he said.
The policy will be guided by a number of principles including a stable macro-economic environment; policy consistency; value addition and beneficiation; the upgrading and modernisation of industrial equipment and machinery; and prioritisation of standards and quality infrastructure.
Other principles are, promoting sustainable industrial development (green industry); rural industrialisation in line with the devolution agenda; strong research and innovation; effective cooperation between private sector and Government; encourage corporate social responsibility; and promoting gender and youth mainstreaming in industrialisation programmes.
Minister Ndlovu said key pillars that will shape the next phase of industrialisation in Zimbabwe are development and strengthening of industrial value chains; agro-based industrialisation; mineral beneficiation; export-led industrialisation; commercialisation of intellectual property; heritage or natural advantage-based industrialisation; emerging industries and start-ups; backward linkages with SMEs; anchor industries and industrial clusters; and industrial parks and innovation hubs.
The ZNIDP comes at a time when there are other Government policies aimed at shaping the domestic policy environment such as the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP).
At the continental level, the aspirations of African Union member states are encapsulated in the pan-African vision of the "AU Agenda 2063 -- The Africa We Want".
The vision is for the creation of "an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena".
One of the key pillars of Agenda 2063 is the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This grand free trade area, which has been ratified by the requisite AU member states and came into force on May 30, aims to facilitate industrialisation through diversification and development of regional value chains and agricultural production.
At the regional level, the policy is aligned to the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063). This strategy envisions the region to progressively move from being factor-driven; to investment driven, then to efficiency-driven; and ultimately to the high growth trajectory driven by knowledge, innovation and business sophistication.
The ZNIDP is also linked to the national strategies of member states and to the AU's Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa and Agenda 2063.