FINANCE minister Tendai Biti will next week on Friday address the World Economic Forum in South Africa focusing on Zimbabwe’s reconstruction under the inclusive government.
The World Economic Forum will provide a big opportunity for Biti to explain the country’s economic recovery plan which is contained in Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp) and appeal for funding and technical assistance needed to rebuild the country’s economy.
Biti will address the meeting on Friday morning. He will be part of a panel which includes Deputy South African president Kgalema Motlanthe and Kingdom Meikles Africa group chief executive officer Nigel Chanakira.
The moderator of the panel will be Group Digital Business Manager and TV Host, Royal Media Services, Kenyan Julie Gichuru.
He will be expected to address the following questions: How are Zimbabwean and African leaders addressing the crisis in the country? What is the roadmap for reconstructing what was once one of Africa’s success stories? Should the international community lift sanctions and provide development assistance to Zimbabwe?
Deputy Prime minister Arthur Mutambara is also expected to address the same forum on Wednesday next weekÂ on the topic “Investing in Zimbabwe”.
In an interview this week, Biti said he will be take the opportunity to explain the depth of the Zimbabwean crisis and the amount of reconstruction work that needs to be done.
“As a matter of fact I would like to make the world and regional leaders appreciate and understand the situation in Zimbabwe. The extent of decline and failure of the economy is so serious that it was tantamount to an economy that had just emerged from war,” said Biti.
“We need a comprehensive stabilisation programme in the mould of a mini Marshal Plan instead of just getting humanitarian assistance which all goes in to consumption. We need huge reconstruction and transformation assistance,” Biti said.
Biti said a lot of work needed to be done before Zimbabwe start bottoming out of the doldrums and reach the stage it was at before 2000.
He said the consequences of failing to revive the economy would be too ghastly to contemplate.
“The inclusive government is a very fragile experiment. It can only work and succeed if there is economic recovery and delivery. We need to ensure that it succeeds,” he said.
Biti said for the inclusive government to succeed there will be need to attend to outstanding issues and reforms.
“The outstanding issues must be addressed with urgency and reforms introduced. We need to stop the arrest of journalists, lawyers, judiciary officers, political activists and human rights defenders. We also need to start implementing the global political agreement in full,” Biti said.
“We need to see more newspapers, radio and television stations in Zimbabwe. This is the only way we can succeed and we will explain all these issue to the world in Cape Town next week,” said Biti.
BY PAUL NYAKAZEYA