The Zimbabwe National Competitiveness Report (ZNCR) was commissioned by the National Economic Consultative Forum (NECF). The objective of the Zimbabwe National Competitiveness Report (ZNCR) is to contribute to achieving the Government of Zimbabwe's objective of high rates of economic growth. It has involved contributions from leaders in the public and private sector. It is expected to serve as a dashboard for the ongoing work on reforming he business environment. This Report also helps set the agenda for public-private dialogue in 2018/19.
The ZNCR provides information for benchmarking Zimbabwe’s products, services, operations and cost against comparator countries and over years. As such it can be used to measure future positive change. It will also build consensus behind key public policies and industry strategies that together can achieve the robust economic goal of 7% GDP growth which is key in helping the country to achieve the middle income status. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement has the potential to provide Zimbabwe with positive opportunities for trade throughout most of Africa while also raising the spectre of greater competition from other regional actors. For these reasons this report is very timely and relevant.
This Report will identify Zimbabwe's competitive advantages including its human resources, location and abundant natural resources. Zimbabwe has many comparative advantages. The quality of human resources is perhaps Zimbabwe's greatest comparative advantage with literacy rates above 92% and Zimbabweans are in high demand throughout the region, a result of the Government's deliberate policy focusing on universal education. Abundant natural resources include rich mineral deposits, arable tracks of land, flora and fauna, abundant sunlight and water are in evidence even to the casual observer. Zimbabwe's Economic diversity is another competitive advantage and this diversity includes agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and many other service industries. Zimbabwe's excellent weather and strategic location make it an ideal venue for investment to serve regional markets. These competitive advantages, among others, explain the resilience of Zimbabwe's economy during many past challenges.
Constraints to Zimbabwe's competitiveness are nonetheless formidable. Despite Zimbabwe's tremendous competitive assets, many important challenges remain. It is the purpose of this report to identify these challenges and to foster public-private dialogue to implement solutions through specific initiatives. Cost drivers are one such constraint and are the focus of one of the chapters of this report. Analysis conducted in previous reports showed that many of the costs of production in Zimbabwe are higher than those of neighbouring countries with which Zimbabwe must compete for exports and investment. In some cases, domestic industries find it difficult to compete with cheaper imports.
By identifying and focusing on these cost drivers, Zimbabwe can enhance the prospects for future growth. The second constraint is related to education and training and how to build the next generation of knowledge and skills that will boost Zimbabwe's productivity. It is important to highlight here the recommendations contained in the Nziramasanga Commission of Inquiry on updating education to meet Zimbabwe's development challenges. A third constraint relates to infrastructure, especially electricity shortages but also transportation, water and communications. A fourth constraint is related to the business environment for mobilizing investment, generating employment and boosting productivity. There are many constraints to starting companies, hiring people, getting permits and conducting business operations. Access and cost of finance are another aspect of the business environment.