Zimbabwe Can’t Create Jobs, Plans To Profit From Exporting Skilled Labor

In an effort to take control of its brain drain, Zimbabwe has agreed to act as a recruitment agency and send skilled Zimbabweans to fill job vacancies in Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Sudan, CNBCAfrica reports.

“We are coming up with a policy as a ministry to help our skilled manpower to get jobs because there are countries with vacancies in various fields, but our people do not have access to those vacancies out there,” said Godfrey Gandawa, Zimbabwe’s minister of higher education, science and technology, in an interview in the state-controlled  Herald.

The ruling Zanu-PF promised in the run-up to the 2013 elections to create 2.2 million jobs in five years– a promise it cannot keep, according to CNBCAfrica.

More than 4,610 companies closed down in Zimbabwe between 2011 and 2014, driving 55,000 people into unemployment. About 11 percent of the population works in the formal sector, according to unofficial figures.

Investors and foreign companies have been deterred from entering the country through existing legislation, including the indigenization laws, according to a report in MiningReview.

Indigenization laws, implemented in 2008, give Zimbabweans the right to take over and control many foreign-owned companies in Zimbabwe. More than 50 percent of all the businesses in the country were to be transferred into local African hands, according to the laws.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was among the worst performing in Africa in 2014, plunging by close to 20 percent, according to a report in EurasiaReview.

“When a country begins to actively encourage its qualified personnel to get jobs in other countries, you can then appreciate that the wheels are surely coming off,” said Obert Gutu, spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, according to the CNBC report. “Instead of creating jobs under the much talked about Zim-Asset policy framework, the Zanu-PF regime has actually become an employment agent, eagerly recruiting young and highly qualified Zimbabweans to go and work in other countries. Under normal circumstances, this government would simply resign. They have totally failed the people of Zimbabwe.”

Labor export is nothing new — especially for countries under dictatorship, according to social media activist and publisher Gift Mawire.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980, the Philippines government under dictator Ferdinand Marcos exported young men unemployed by the stagnant economy and established a system to regulate and encourage labor outflow. It’s no surprise that Zimbabwe has adopted a similar approach, Mawire said. “It will not only help to avoid civil unrest associated with frustration but generate much needed revenue for the broke government.”

Education policies and human capital development should be driven by demand, said Economist Maxwell Saungweme, according to CNBCAfrica. It’s unfortunate that Zimbabwe can’t provide jobs for people it educated using public funds.

“That you have so many qualified and educated people who can’t get jobs in their country is a manifestation of government failure,” Saungweme said. “The attempt to then export skills that are redundant in your country is just unsound.”

Exporting skilled citizens to work outside the country is a policy of desperation that seeks to open a social pressure valve on the economic failures back home, said political analyst Rashweat Mukundu. “If Zimbabweans have to move it must be voluntarily but right now labour or economic migration is a desperate move by many who see no hope in Zimbabwe.”

Source: AFK Insider

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