It is now beyond dispute that should Zimbabwe ever rise from its current quagmire, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) will be a key driver.
SME growth is associated with a rise in employment, and if properly managed and supported, it will increase the nation’s productivity while simultaneously reducing dependence on external support.
Such a position is desirable for any nation, as it increases the country’s sovereignty and ability to determine its future.
Our capacity utilisation and unemployment figures give a telling indication of the need for massive creation of additional industries. The latest capacity utilisation figures, though disputed, showed it at around 57 percent at a time that unemployment was over 80 percent. Assuming that there is a direct relationship between increasing that utilisation and labour uptake, this implies that even if capacity utilisation rises to 100 percent we will at best only reduce unemployment to 60 percent. In reality, of course, there will be a much lower proportion of additional labour required to achieve that increased utilisation.
This extrapolation demonstrates how essential it is that the country energises an SME revolution to stimulate productivity, employment and economic prosperity. By creating new industries and additional capacity, SMEs will enable the absorption of more people into the formal sector.
Many will dispute the unemployment status by arguing that most of those unemployed people are operating in
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