President shares vision for future govts at World Summit

Strategic foresight and robust systems are integral to economic growth and sustainable development in a rapidly changing economic environment, President Mnangagwa told global thought leaders here during a keynote address to the World Governments Summit yesterday.

He was addressing a government experience exchange forum titled: “How the governments of today can prepare themselves to confidently face the dynamic highs and lows of today’s ever-changing world”. President Mnangagwa used the Zimbabwean experience to illustrate how people-centred policies can improve the standard of living and turn around the economy.

The summit seeks to facilitate sharing experiences in governance and the President was invited to discuss how he envisions government ecosystems of the future.

He outlined some of the people-centred policies his Government has implemented under the Second Republic which include the devolution and decentralisation agenda, modernisation of the agricultural sector, construction and maintenance of modernised infrastructure, accessible and affordable health delivery and transport, and engagement and re-engagement with all nations.

“In Zimbabwe, we have Vision 2030 towards a prosperous and upper middle-income society as the blueprint that provides a robust anchor to promote economic growth and sustainable development. At continental level, the African Union is guided by the Africa Agenda 2063. Indeed, the rapid growth of global economies depends on the ability to harness and optimally use diverse comparative advantages.

“This is more important now that global economies are rapidly opening up for intra-regional and continental trade and competitiveness pushed by modernisation, especially the use of information communication technologies, among other aspects.

“To this end, African countries have collectively mobilised themselves around the African Continental Free Trade Area, whose strategic foresight is recreating a continent with free movement of goods and people across countries.

“All these strategies are being formulated to shape the future of governments towards building competitive, modernised and resilient economies that are able to fulfil the aspirations of our peoples,” the President said.

President Mnangagwa was, however, quick to warn delegates that robust policies and systems alone can never be a recipe for success as these are manned by government officials who must be agile and have the welfare of citizens at heart. Government officials needed constant appraisal and assessment to avoid sloppiness.

“It is, therefore, clear that shaping the future of Governments requires strategic foresight, underpinned by robust policies, systems and processes that are able to manage for big, sustainable and impactful results. However, robust policies, systems and processes are merely the means to an end. We have to ensure that the bureaucrats who man the government machinery are market-facing and citizen-centric.

“In order to shape the future of governments, we need to also develop systems of measuring and tracking performance at both institutional and personnel levels. Further, to re-position and re-purpose ourselves for future development, it is critically important to foster agility, innovation, guided by programmes and clear frameworks.

“In Zimbabwe, our programming is underpinned by the integrated results-based management system as a policy imperative, so that we do not track and measure motion but measure impactful results,” the President explained.

The Government of Zimbabwe introduced performance-based contracts in 2021 for Cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, chief executive officers of parastatals and local authorities, vice chancellors for State universities and other senior public officials.

In line with the sharing of experiences, Zimbabwe and UAE have a cooperation framework for transformation of the public sector which the President took time to explain.

“Riding on the leadership of the UAE in futuristic government administration and the excellent bilateral relations between our two countries, Zimbabwe has benefited immensely and innovated its government systems. This has increased efficiency and transparency in the delivery of quality services.

“The study tours in 2022 to the UAE by our senior government officials, was insightful. The main goal was to understand and appreciate public sector reforms in the UAE that created the enabling environment which has transformed the UAE to become a key global player in numerous sectors.”

“Lessons learnt, with regards the deployment of ICT to increase efficiencies in government systems and delivery services have proved invaluable. This has given impetus to our country’s quest to accelerate the attainment of our national Vision 2030,” President Mnangagwa said.

After the September 2022 study tour, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of improvement and development of Government activities was signed last year.

The MoU provides a framework which resulted in the genesis of the Government experiences exchange programme in Zimbabwe.

“Various high-level meetings are held regularly between Zimbabwean officials and their UAE counterparts. We will continue to strengthen and accelerate implementation of the programme,” the President said.

“The experience-sharing platforms such as this summit will further serve to enrich and broaden our country’s perspectives and strategies to sustainable development riding on innovations and new technologies.”

He ended his address by buttressing his “Open for Business” foreign policy stance saying: “As I conclude, may I once again invite more investors and partners to collaborate with Zimbabwe on our exciting journey.”

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa also had interviews with foreign media organisations, where he spoke on opportunities presented by the summit. He said countries could share experiences on climate change, artificial intelligence (AI) and governance systems.
On AI he said governments have “no choice but to embrace technology” and on mitigating the effects of climate change he cited the construction of dams under the Second Republic.

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