THE United Nations says lack of clear economic policies which attract relevant investment needed for development is responsible for Zimbabwe’s failure to reduce poverty and effectively control the spread of HIV.
The elimination of poverty, hunger and the reduction of HIV/AIDS are some of the goals which the UN says Zimbabwe has failed to attain in the past fifteen years.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) period expires this December.
“In Zimbabwe, just like in many others, poverty and hunger remain critical development challenges,” Bishow Parajuli, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP country Representative said.
He was speaking during a multi-stakeholder national dialogue on the SDGs in Harare, Wednesday.
“76% of the rural population is poor while 23% is extremely poor. Despite some progress made, maternal mortality which stands at 614 per 100,000 live births is still a significant issue. HIV/Aids is at 14 %, which is still very high”.
The UN envoy said respect of human rights, rule of law and good governance are critical for Zimbabwe to attain SDGs in future.
“Upholding universal norms and standards on the rule of law, human rights and good governance will facilitate the flow of investment and private capital which will in turn help achieve SDGs themselves”.
“A policy environment conducive to attract capital is vital, especially for a country like Zimbabwe which is grappling with liquidity issues, narrow fiscal space and limited investments.
Capital is plentiful, but we need to have the right national and international policy environment to attract it”.
“It is vital to strengthen the quality of infrastructure, especially energy, water and transport infrastructure that facilitates both public and private investments”.
Zimbabwe has a black empowerment policy which mandates foreign investors interested in starting businesses in the country to cede 51% shareholding to indigenous people.
Since their enactment in 2007, the laws have been viewed critically with some people saying they drive away potential investors.
The international community has also demanded a clear explanation and interpretation of the policy saying it was vital to reengagement with Harare.