Harnessing Zimbabwe’s Diaspora Towards the National Settlement

SAPES Policy Dialogue Forum – Online Series Number 2 of 2020

Date: 25 June 2020

The 2nd in the SAPES Trust Policy Dialogue series took place on Thursday the 25th of June 2020. In advertising the Policy Dialogue, the convenor, Dr. Ibbo Mandaza set the scene by issuing the following statement:

The period since the year 2000 has seen an unprecedented growth in the number of Zimbabweans who have left the country, as largely a reaction to the deteriorating political and economic situation at home. Estimates of the population of Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora is between 4 and 5 Million, if not more. In other words, at least 25% of the Zimbabwean population is in the Diaspora. The largest number of Zimbabwean Diasporians is in the SADC neighbourhood, mainly South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia; in the UK, USA, and Canada; and in New Zealand and Australia. The most significant feature of all these statistics is the shocking discovery that as many as 70 -75 percent of all skilled and professional Zimbabweans are in the Diaspora, notably medical doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, lawyers, financial and managerial experts, university professors, international civil servants and the best of technocrats generally. Not to mention the large numbers of semi-skilled and unskilled workers who have become as indispensable to the receiving countries as their skilled and professional counterparts. The negative impact on Zimbabwe’s human capital base is obvious, particularly for a country which during its first decade of independence boasted a historic revolution in education and human resources development.

Now, the fruits of independence are being enjoyed elsewhere while Mother Zimbabwe suffers the loss as reflected in the deteriorating economic and political situation. The fact that the volume of remittances is about $5 Billion per annum, which is either more or equal to Zimbabwe’s annual budget and no doubt an indispensable factor on the part of the Diaspora, cannot be sufficient compensation for the kind of contribution that the 25% (and 70-75% of skilled and professional Zimbabweans) of our population might have made to the national development objectives while engaged at home. Not surprisingly, the capacity for both economic and political recovery is severely curtailed; and, conversely, the harnessing of Zimbabwe’s Diaspora is a necessity for the National Settlement. This, then, is the subject before us, calling out as it does, less about how we got here – because all that is obvious; but more of what needs to be done Now!

Panellists:

  1. Godfrey Kanyenze
  2. Chipo Dendere
  3. Tendayi Dumbutchena
  4. Yvonne Gwashawanhu, and
  5. Violet Gonda, the Moderator

Download full discussion report here (214KB PDF)