I Always Laugh Out Loud When People Talk About How Rich Our Country Is

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Torn Zimbabwe flag flying

I always laugh out loud when people talk about how rich our country is. There is always that talk about the diamonds, about the platinum in the Great Dyke belt, the black granite in Mutoko, the coal in Hwange and the rich and fertile lands . Yes we all agree and have to be grateful for the natural resources God have blessed us with as a country.

Human capital is diamond.

What is peculiar however, are the low numbers of people who cite human capital that the country is currently sitting on. Investopedia defines human capital as knowledge, skill sets and motivation people have, which provides economic value. Human capital has been underestimated and underused to such an extent that it has slowed economic growth.

While there are a lot of colleges, universities and schools which release a lot of graduates from the system, it is quite sad that the majority find themselves stranded with nothing to do after leaving school. The economy is in such a bad state making it difficult for the majority to find any formal work. So should the young children all leave Zimbabwe for greener pastures? Should we wait for a new Government that can change the economic fortunes? Or should we just accept our fate and cry.

At the turn of the decade there was a slogan that Prof Moyo always prided himself in “Land is the economy and economy is the land. “It was understandable what it meant during those days but as the years progressed we came to know that human capital was fundamental, because the land did not produce crops on its own. The more we experimented with various agricultural models during that time the more we got better.

Agricultural production is still below what we expect but the country can now harvest enough maize for its consumption and tobacco farming is getting better with each year. This shows how a motivated human capital which initially lacked some skill set can make a difference in the economy.

One area that we have failed dismally is that of industrial manufacturing. Despite the fact that we have a large pool of engineers, technicians and artisans we still produce little products on the market. For instance why should we not use our human capital to improve our livelihood? Why should someone staying in Kariba for instance buy candles when the sun shines the whole day? We surely have the human capital to manufacture low cost solar jar lights at competitive prices.

Why should the already sick person waiting to be attended in a district hospital be subjected to intense heat in summer yet as a country we can easily make solar cooling fans. This can even be extended to individual households.

Transport is also a big problem especially in the rural areas. Children and adults alike have to travel long distances either to get to school or the nearest shops. How about if we started to assemble our own bicycles with a small motor? Just a small company that will solder bicycles safety lights can make a difference for a few families.  Government could come with a subsidy, remove import duty for the components to make it affordable to the majority.

We could go on and on about how our human capital with the Government assistance can stimulate economic growth. Once we start making our own products the multiplier effects are amazing. More jobs, more tax for the Government, more consumer expenditure etc.

That is why it is critical as a nation to give the children a good head start by encouraging them to be creative be it with toys, wires and soil. Government must as a matter of urgency have a deliberate plan that should encourage industrial production by improving the skillset of its citizens and funding promising ventures  by citizens. Zimbabwe can no longer afford to wait for foreign investors. As William Arthur Ward said “Opportunities are like sunrises. If we wait too long you miss them.”


Ndangariro Maketiwa  is a passionate lover of Electronics and runs an online electronic component Shop.



  1. Ash

    Good article indeed and I think us Zimbabweans we trained to look up to other people, be in foreign investors or the government so if the government is hopeless ee become hopeless too… What we really need is the DRIVE TO DO THINGS. Zimbabweans are innovative but too dreamy and I don’t know if that’s ever gonna change…

  2. JST

    innovation is not appreciated. I hate to remind people of Daniel Chingoma, he tried so much home grown engineering but he was openly ridiculed yet everyday we stampede to use fake Chinese items whose engineers were never tested but encouraged. The same gvt does not support its own

  3. John

    @JST that is exactly my point.Daniel Chingoma is a living example.We all laughed at him yet with a bit of assistance from the Government and everyone else he would have built a very good product.We have the talent yet we do not nurture it.Technology can be a good source of foreign currency for the country.

  4. EC101

    Good article. In basic economics they say land is just but one of the four major factors of production that also include labour (human capital), capital and entrepreneurship. A right mix in utilization of all four factors of production is required. It has been argued that Switzerland alone makes more money from chocolates (more than 1.5b per year) than the whole of West Africa, yet Switzerland does not have even a single acre where they farm cocoa beans. Having natural resources alone wont benefit us much.

  5. man

    Our socio-economic systems do have much support for any indigenous efforts. This is from the education we receive (that encourages schooling for labour purposes) to the governance of government entities and private corporations that do not invest in research and development. A new and revolutionary approach is needed to take Africans out of this poverty that in part we have handed down by the colonisers of yesteryear

  6. Professor Alfred Mpofu

    What good are the so-called vast resources if there are no people to utilize these resources efficiently? There is an ever-growing syndrome among many people across the world, in our case Zimbabwe, where people can easily be fooled by unproven utterances from those that intend to benefit from such mumble-jumble. Yes, we might have all these “untapped” resources lying idle deep in the ground but that is not what makes a country rich (you might want to look up what Resource Curse means, and also the situation in DRC as an excellent example), but the benefits that are derived from such resources are what makes a country rich. For instance, having kimberlites (some barren, of course) is not a sign of richness; the exploration, marketing and the diversification of the proceeds from the diamonds sales might bring development, (of course, if the proceeds are channeled accordingly), and this requires human capital. Zimbabweans boast of so many mineral resources kkkkkkkk which some politician claims we have, but has never seen even a piece of quartz. What happened to the ivory which was pegged at trillions of USD? Kenya had to burn those horns because no one would buy them despite any value they put on them. My point is, “having” something doe not make a country rich and that the mining value chain can be beneficial at any point from Exploration & Exploitation (see what Australia did) to Diversification if we have the right Human Capital. We need to convert our so-called “high literacy rate” to “Application Rate,” not just “repeat after me”.

    1. funny guy # 2

      “..mumble-jumble..” lol , you yourself sound like you have been fooled by some so-called “teacher” somewhere along the line. Its MUMBO JUMBO for your information. Thank you!

  7. ThinkBig

    I have always wondered what it means to be educated. In Zimbabwe we have so many people with degrees, do they even know what it means to be a holder of a degree. A person with a degree in a relevant field should be able to solve problems at a degree level. So the issues of untapped human resources lies in one problem – all Zimbabwean degree holders are just like the minerals of the country, they as the minerals are also waiting to be tapped into and mined.
    Degree holders lost the ability to dream and to be world class problem solvers at a Degree level. Your degree is useless if you are unable to solve the problems that your degree supposes you can.
    Think big… and don’t talk about hee ndoda capital, hee ndipeiwo start. And this fear of saying my idea will get stolen so i won’t share it, still means you are not thinking at a Degree level. Avo vane maMasters we won’t even talk. Show the Nation what you degree means… Jobs are just people solving a human need, or want. Go to Maslow hierarchy of needs and see what service you can provide.

  8. Anonymous

    The comment section for this article is highly informative.

  9. Anonymous

    Can i have the link to Ndangariro’s online electonics shop