ILO-led Zimbabwe Working Initiative promotes social dialogue for economic development


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By Byron Mutingwende


The multi-stakeholder social dialogue underpinning the Zimbabwe Report on the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE) that is being spearheaded by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is set to stimulate economic growth.


In his remarks at the launch of the Zimbabwe Report on EESE, Senator Lovemore Matuke, the Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare said social dialogue and sustainable enterprises are necessary for stabilising the economy.


“We should marshal our efforts towards stabilising the economy in the medium term and indeed growing the economy into an upper middle-income economy in line with the Vision 2030,” Senator Matuke said.


He revealed that the initiative could not have come at an opportune time as government is putting its emphasis on and focus on efforts to rebuilding and growing the economy.


The Zimbabwe Report on EESE has provided a diagnosis of the areas that need improving and reviewing, including legal and regulatory environment and access to financial services.


The Report indicates that there is need to orient and direct programmes, projects and activities as tripartite partners towards improvement of the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises. This will lead to better and decent jobs and improved livelihoods.


There was also the Green enterPRIZE Roundtable discussion. The Green enterPRIZE Innovation and Development Programme in Zimbabwe aims to create green jobs for young women and men and increase the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are adopting sustainable production processes and tapping into the potential of a greener economy.


The International Labour Organization in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is implementing the programme, with support from the Government of Sweden.


The Zimbabwe Working initiative provides a unique opportunity to gather views from a wide range of stakeholders, on how to encourage a transition to a green economy in the framework of the Vision 2030 development agenda for Zimbabwe.


Towards a Greener Economy in Zimbabwe and more Sustainable Enterprises


A green economy improves social, environmental and economic well-being in a sustainable and inclusive way by adopting low-carbon development strategies that rely on clean, circular and resource- efficient production and safeguard human health and ecological thresholds.


According to the EESE assessment “the development of sustainable enterprises and the protection of the environment require sustainable production and consumption patterns. Current environmental concerns include deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, air and water pollution, poaching of endangered animals particularly large mammals, and the results of poor mining practices such as toxic waste and heavy metal pollution. Industries are concentrated around Harare, where air quality due to vehicle emissions, dust and smoke, and industrial production, is a concern.”


Agriculture is the source of livelihood for the vast majority of Zimbabwe’s population, and it is dependent on rainfall, which is increasingly unpredictable due to the El Nino phenomenon. Food insecurity leads to the working population becoming weak, the inability to work has income effects that compound health problems, and the malnutrition leads to a higher susceptibility to disease. Unreliable water availability has an effect on the crops, and prices, but also affects the outbreak of diseases.

As a result of the EESE assessment action on responsible stewardship of the environment was identified as one of the enabling conditions prioritized for the promotion of sustainable enterprises.


Objective of the Project


The Government of Zimbabwe is aware of the challenges to environmental degradation and the need for sustainable development and has set up a Climate Change Management Department in 2013, initially in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate and recently moved to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. A National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCRS) was formulated in 2014 to mainstream climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in all economic and social development.


The strategy was followed up by a National Climate Policy with a vision of ‘a climate resilient and low carbon Zimbabwe’ to provide the policy framework for a national response to climate change. The objective of the policy is to guide climate change management in the country, enhance the national adaptation capacity, scale up mitigation activities, facilitate domestication of global policies and ensure compliance to global mechanism.


However, in the Zimbabwean context, there is still limited capacities to develop requisite skills to make the transition to a greener economy happen. The absence of green fiscal measures and enterprise development instruments limits the provision of green products and services and hampers the adoption of cleaner production and circular economy approaches at industrial and sectoral level. Furthermore, Zimbabwean companies are not mandated to acquire environmental certification, such as the ISO 14001, nor establish internal environment management systems.

Peter Mutasa, the President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions bemoaned the fact that unionists are often misunderstood when they undertake their role of addressing the broader socio-economic challenges.


He called for national cohesion towards a political establishment that respects constitutionalism and multi-stakeholder collaboration.


Sifelani jabangwe, the President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) weighed in by encouraging the government to create an enabling environment for businesses and investors.