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Monday, 22 October 2012

NO AFRICAN PRESIDENT DESERVED TO WIN THE US$5m LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR 2012: MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION PANEL !!WHY?


NO AFRICAN PRESIDENT DESERVED TO WIN THE US$5m LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR 2012: MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION PANEL




I tend to disagree with the decision made by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation panel that no African president deserved to win the coveted $5m worth leadership prize in 2012. entirely. The prize should have been given to the new President of Malawi Joyce Banda, in recognition firstly, to the people of Malawi in being selfless and allowing a smooth power transition following the untimely death of the incumbent, Bingu wa Mutharika. 


Secondly, the new President has stirred Malawi towards a new path that is redefining a new era and governance ethos based own reconnecting with the generality of the Malawian people and the regaining the confidence and support of Multi-lateral Institutions including the global communit. She has reformed structures of governance which has attracted confidence of the International Institutions and created a conducive environment to attract foreign investment and development assistance. In May this year Britain pledged £23m to help stabilise the Malawian economy and £10m for the country's health system and bi-laterally negotiated and persuaded Zimbabwe to repay in kind, a long outstanding debt of US$17m.

The zero tolerance to corruption and opulent life-style for Politicians and Senior figures has set Malawi on a path deserving this leadership prize. Joyce Banda introduced a controversial decision to either sell or lease the impoverished country's £8.4m presidential jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes government cars and instead apply the proceeds from the sale towards provision of basic services to Malawi's poorest in urgent need of relief following massive devaluation of the Malawian Kwacha by one third on the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The measures were necessary to cushion Malawi from the effects of wild-cat public sector strikes due to poor salaries and conditions of service including student demostrations. She has managed to stabilise constitutional crisis in Parliament following a charade of defections between the Democratic People's Party (DPP) and the People's Party (PP) which she formed in 2009 when she was expelled from the DPP. 

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, has faced growing macroeconomic management challenges for several years. In 2010, Malawi secured an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) from the IMF and the government adjusted fiscal and economic policy accordingly, but was unable to meet the IMF targets set at end-December 2010 and June 2011. Further measures taken failed to remedy the failings and donor countries suspended budget support. 

In 2012, under Joyce Banda's direction, the new administration moved swiftly to devalue the kwacha, adopt a flexible exchange rate regime and liberalize current account transactions to address the country's chronic balance of payment problems and improve the outlook for poverty reduction and growth, leading to the approval in June 2012, of a new three-year IMF funding support under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) amounting to about US$ 156.2 million. This funding is boosting real GDP growth from 4.3 percent in 2012 to at least 6½ percent per year from 2015.This will lead to the scaling up of social protection programs to mitigate the adverse impact of adjustment measures on the most vulnerable segments of the Malawian people.

In conclusion, given the optimistic global economic climate resulting from the global financial crisis and the challenges of its effects in the Eurozone, the dramatic about turn in Malawi and pace of economic reforms cannot go unnoticed, I rest my case...hear hear hear!!!!! 

Josh Chigwangwa is an Independent Researcher and holds a BA (Hons) Admin degree from Hertfordshire University, a Public Sector Accounting Diploma from Harare Polytechnic College and more than 10 yrs Public Sector experience in Zimbabwe. Contactable on jmchigwangwa@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Josh Chigwangwa: RE-ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND SPORT TO BE THE EPI-C...

Josh Chigwangwa: RE-ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND SPORT TO BE THE EPI-C...: The London 2012 Olympics are now a part of our history and focus is now on political parties haggling of who has the right and muscle to...

RE-ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND SPORT TO BE THE EPI-CENTRE OF ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMIC GROWTH




The London 2012 Olympics are now a part of our history and focus is now on political parties haggling of who has the right and muscle to massage the COPAC-Led Draft Constitution. Zimbabwe made history in that no medals were achieved in the games despite phenomenal achievements from the seven athletes who represented the country. The games concluded with the appointment of Kirsty Coventry to the IOC Athletes board, but what does this all mean for Zimbabwe. Is there a relationship between sports and economic development, in particular income growth and poverty alleviation or is sport a weekend pastime for Zimbabwe’s largely unemployed youth as they get manipulated to justify Parliamentary funding for Zimbabwe’s political parties?

In Europe and most developed countries, sports are increasingly important to the economy. About 2 million people are employed in the sports economy in the 15 member countries of the European Union – that is, 1.3 per cent of overall EU employment. And the sports economy is growing. In Europe, in the early 1970s, the ratio of overall sport expenditures (for goods and services) to GDP was around 0.5 per cent. In 1990, the ratio ranged between 1 and 1.5 per cent of GDP in most European countries (Andreff and Szymanski, 2006). In the UK, the contribution of the sports economy to GDP is currently estimated at more than 2%. As a comparison: this is three times as high as the current contribution of agriculture to GDP in the UK.

In the Atlanta Games in 1996, the British team achieved one gold medal only and immediately reviewed its priorities, injecting a lot of its National Lottery funding into elite Olympic sports for the first time. The return on investment was almost instant. In the Sydney Games of 2000, Team GB won 11 golds - the first time Britain won more than 10 golds since the Antwerp Games in 1920 - and 28 medals in total. Athens in 2004 saw a similar return, the last games before the Olympic Committee awarded the 2012 games to London. Investment in Olympic sports in the UK immediately rocketed in preparation for the country's first games since 1948, and again the return was both immediate and spectacular - the British team won 19 golds and 47 medals in total in Beijing in 2008 and 29 golds and 65 medals in all in the London 2012 Olympics. In essence, the Lottery accounted for about 60% of funding for GB's Olympic teams' preparation for the London Games with almost 40% coming directly from the UK government

Comparable and representative data on the economic value of sports in Zimbabwe are not readily available, including most developing countries. In this paper we focus therefore on two specific issues which seem particularly relevant for the impact of economic development. The first is the impact of sports/infrastructure investments on development; the second is about migration of sports players and development. Sadly for Zimbabwean sport, it is at the mercy of individuals which has seen Cuthbert Dube (Zifa President) using his personal house to guarantee debts for the National Team to participate in national tournaments. National institutions should never be the personal responsibility of individuals because firstly, it is beyond their capacity and mandate and secondly, their actions will not be in the interests of the nation or the development of sport ultimately. Kenya’s gold medal winners emerged from the remote parts of Kenya with no modern training facilities apart from dusty and bumpy strip roads. The focus in Zimbabwe has been to focus on urban cities as catchment areas with athletics relegated to mining towns which have since become ghost towns with lots of talent being put to waste whilst Zimbabwe's unemployment rate exceeds 80%.

Zimbabwe has ridden at the back of Kirsty Coventry for all its haul of Olympic gold medals and a dysfunctional and non-existent youth sports development and funding is failing a generation of otherwise talented youth people with potential. The exodus of Zimbabweans into the Diaspora since 2000 has seen a new generation of Zimbabweans emerging with a lot of talent and expertise that has been developed using state of the art facilities and a pool of professional coaches and sporting experts. The Sports and Recreation Commission should be at the epi-centre of enticing and tapping into this talent pool to leverage on sports development. At the London meeting with the Zimbabwean Diasporas during the London Olympics, Senator David Coltart had the opportunity to meet and interact with some of this abundant talent such as Stanley Madiri. Stanley is a successful and experienced athletics coach both in Zimbabwe and the UK. Stanley Madiri currently coaches Christina Ohurugu, 400m athlete who achieved a gold in Beijing and a silver in the London games representing team GB in the Olympics. He is also behind British 200m champion Desiree Henrys and Jodie Williams, world junior champion who won gold in the 100m and silver in the 200min Canada 2011.

The London meeting recommended the setting up of an entity to support development of sports and education in Zimbabwe which taps into the Diaspora market. The issue of dual citizenship is key to the development of sports which integrates the global nature of Zimbabwean talent which also needs to be reviewed ahead of other outdated considerations being proposed. Other African nationals are already showing a keen interest in this model, but Zimbabwe needs a coherent national drive to pursue this model with the global context of its nationals and learning from other countries dominated by migrant populations such as Jamaica, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana who have a lot of players plying their trade in the elite sports abroad such as football, basketball and athletics. The next Olympics will be held in Rio, Brazil in 2016 and a blue print of what sports to focus on needs to be developed and a clear strategic plan adopted. The idea of creating a Sports Lottery fund to directly support medal potential sports and athletes is worth pursuing and for priorities of the government to be reviewed to support aspirations of young people and prosperity of the nation as a long term strategy. Jamaica focused on athletics and they are now riding on this success crest which we can learn from, being a smaller nation like Zimbabwe.

Joshua Chigwangwa