As a country that hosts many expatriates during the holiday season, I thought it would be easy to amplify how this important supporter plays a role in our technological and economic progress.
Statistics are instructive.
The Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat) estimates that nearly one million Zimbabweans live in the diaspora.
Non-resident Zimbabweans also sent $1.4 billion in 2021, up from $1 billion a year earlier.
Obviously, this part cannot be ignored.
If anything, we need to take advantage of its capabilities, and I specifically mentioned technological advances.
Economicdiscussion.net suggests that 58% of adults believe the internet is essential, for example, during the past year’s Covid-19 pandemic.
This underscores the importance of technological and digital development.
With access to the latest technology, our expatriates can play a key role here.
It is estimated that technology contributes at least 28% to average annual global growth.
To further emphasize this point, from the 1960s to the 1970s, the speed and power of computers doubled every one and a half to two years!
We learned this much later.
I remember, in the 90s, students would go to a typist for their assignments.
It’s ridiculous now, but that’s the reality.
Students now have laptops and other gadgets for homework and research purposes.
The diaspora can significantly help and contribute enormously to our progress as we master technology.
We have many Zimbo (as we call ourselves) all over the world.
Zimbabweans have been hosted by South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, China, India and Botswana, among others.
The advantage here is easy to discern.
We expose Zimbabweans to global standards in various ways.
Our employees are familiar with the latest technology.
We also have ourselves earning much-needed foreign currency.
We all know that sometimes we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but to understand how other countries and peoples do it.
We also know that in some cases we will recalibrate the above techniques to suit our particular situation.
We have Zimbabweans leaving the country as students to continue their education.
They have mastered critical and indispensable skills.
They mix with other nationalities.
They are also our ambassadors.
Some are even employed in the host country, gaining valuable international exposure in the process.
We also have people who specifically leave in search of better pastures because they are looking for work abroad and the prospect of higher pay is an attraction or pull factor.
Often, others benefit from their relatives who have established bases abroad.
But home is always home.
People feel completely at home in their own country.
The sacrifices made by the diaspora are well known.
That said, we need to make sure we get the most out of it.
Technology has fundamentally changed the way things are done.
Some examples will clarify this.
The agricultural production process has undergone earth-shaking changes.
Soil fertility, weather pattern predictions, hands-on interventions, the use of drones, and more can all help increase yields.
In health, technological intervention is already quite evident.
They range from surgical procedures to early cancer detection, which enhance health and wellbeing.
Not to mention communication support.
The mining industry has also undergone a transformation.
While miners have traditionally used guesswork to identify deposits, there are now technologies that can easily detect the minerals and their quantities in any given area.
This obviously reduces costs and saves a critical resource called time.
Feasibility studies become seamless.
These are all examples of technological marvels.
This is where our Diasporans come in handy.
They are largely influenced by this practice.
They have mastered their skills and work with the latest equipment.
They also work using cutting-edge technology, some of whom do it every day.
The question then is: how do we get the most out of it?
We keep hearing that foreign investors need skills transfer and locals need to learn from foreigners.
Or is foreign capital needed to ensure locals are capable?
That’s all well and good, dude.
But our diaspora can also play a critical and more active role in ensuring that the wider local population also benefits from their knowledge, skills and contacts. One candle loses nothing by lighting another candle! We appreciate what our university is doing.
They launch new products and services using some of the latest technologies.
this is necessary.
Innovation centers have truly revolutionized our institutions of higher education.
We also have very capable diaspora who benefit from education and experience across borders and oceans.
They are a treasure trove of many skills and knowledge.
We benefit the most from them.
We must of course come up with initiatives to deepen our skill base and capabilities.
And, again, they should be willing participants, if not initiators.
The upper-middle-income economies envisioned in Vision 2030 will surely emerge, aided by the adoption of new technologies.
Indeed, the diaspora, working with governments and other key partners, can find ways and means to ensure this is achieved.
The world is built by its people!
I believe in God!