Eradicating poverty in all its forms, everywhere, requires indicators that measure sustainable pathways out of poverty, and not only the absence of acute poverty.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set a high standard for human development with the pledge ‘to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment’ according to United Nations General Assembly, 2015.
The first and overarching goal of this agenda is to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere.
This vision implies a life free from abject poverty, but also a reality where all are empowered to lead a life they value, make their own choices, and reach their full potential.
In an effort to eradicate poverty, the government of Zimbabwe from its several initiatives came up with Temporary Stabilisation programme (TSP) which was then succeeded by the National Development Strategy (NDS1) which is a medium-term plan which sets out the social, economic, governance and environmental development trajectory for Zimbabwe for the period 2021 – 2025.
Sectors have also developed their specific strategic plans guided by the broader NDS1 framework for consistency and coherence purposes. The NDS1 seeks to alleviate poverty through poverty reduction programmes and advance the economy towards an upper middle income as embedded in the Vision 2030 Agenda launched by the government.
Zimbabwe is suffering from immense poverty. In 2019, extreme poverty was at 34 percent, an increase from 29 percent in 2018. This represents a change from 4.7 million to 5.7 million people living in poverty.
The cause of this swift increase was an economic contraction of around 8%. Poverty has not decreased in 18 years and recent survey show that extreme poverty may have risen by eight percentage in last decade.
The World Bank expects a continued increase in extreme poverty in Zimbabwe in 2023. Fortunately, many organizations are working on innovations in poverty eradication in Zimbabwe to combat this problem. The government besides having good policies on paper, it is lagging behind in implementation.
The 2016 – 2021 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF), co-chaired by Government and the United Nations, is the strategic document via which UN Entities channel their support to the achievement of the SDGs in Zimbabwe.
The United Nations in Zimbabwe also supports Government to conduct regular monitoring and reporting on progress towards the SDGs at national and sub-national levels.
In addition, the United Nations regularly facilitates national and local consultations and advocacy campaigns in partnership with the Office of the President and Cabinet, Government Ministries, Parliament, Development Partners, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, Youth Group, Media, and the Public on mainstreaming and implementation of the SDGs.
A recent World Bank report, Spatial Patterns of Settlement, Internal Migration and Welfare Inequality in Zimbabwe, suggests that entrenched poverty is a deep rural spatial poverty traps. Land redistribution seems to be failing to nreak the straps created by colonialism.
In 2017, extreme poverty was 13 times higher in rural than urban areas and believed to have nearly double as of late.
In addition to a general economic downturn, several droughts across Zimbabwe have caused the prices for food and other essential goods to rise. These same droughts slumped agricultural production, especially in rural communities, where people were hit the hardest by this downturn.
Zimbabwe has also been struggling with hyperinflation for more than a decade. This problem results from economic mismanagement by the nation’s previous president, Robert Mugabe and even worse in ED Mnangagwa’s leadership. Zimbabwe faces severe hyperinflation, which does not help with its fight against widespread poverty.
Zimbabwe has ample resources and capacities to successfully implement SDGs, if decisive action is taken in policy design and sustained implementation, institutional change and allocation of funds.
Besides a plethora of resources, the country is hit by poverty and hyperinflation, Zimbabwe’s citizens are struggling.
A well-functioning accountability and transparency mechanisms at all levels are key to transform the lives of the poor people in Zimbabwe.
Curbing corruption, closing the tap on resource leakages and loopholes as well as international efforts to cap illicit financial flows which drain financial resources should be implemented and issues such as the gold mafia should be non-existent in developing nations such as Zimbabwe.
Improvements in secondary roads and ICT infrastructure to allow better movement of goods, services, people and ideas should done towards eradicating poverty.
Incentives can be created to enable people to move away from areas that are too densely populated to less dense areas.
In recent months, food shortages, high inflation and power outages have reached critical levels.
Zimbabwe will not be on track to eradicate poverty by 2030 if current growth trends continue going on.