Harare (New Ziana) – Government’s policy thrust of promoting the growth of provincial economies through the devolution agenda is gaining momentum, with four provinces registering increased contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2020, and the rest modest declines.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), Harare Province accounted for 25.4 percent of national GDP in 2020, up from 24.1 percent the previous year, and Bulawayo 13.1 percent, up from 12.9 percent in 2019.
Mashonaland West Province was third, accounting for 11.5 percent of national GDP, Matabeleland North fourth with 5.3 percent, up respectively from 11.1 percent and 5.2 percent in 2019.
The other six provinces registered modest declines in contribution to national GDP, owing – in large part – to Covid 19 which broke out in 2020.
Midlands and Masvingo provinces registered declines of 11.3 percent and 7.3 percent respectively in contribution to national GDP in 2020, down from 12.3 percent and 7.6 percent.
That for Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces dropped marginally from 9 percent and and 6.7 percent in 2019 respectively to 8.8 percent and 6.6 percent in 2020.
On the other hand, Mashonaland Central province registered a drop from 6.4 percent to 5.8 percent, and Matabeleland South from 5 percent in 2019 to 4.8 percent in 2020.
Much of the decline is attributed to Covid-19, which hit the country in March 2020 and forced the country to shut down the economy as a precaution against the spread of the pandemic.
Performance was measured in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, mining, retail, real estate services and financial and insurance activities, among others.
Under Vision 2030, Zimbabwe is targeting to transform its economy into an upper middle-income status, and the devolution agenda is one of the strategic pillars that the government is leaning on to attain this objective through the development of vibrant provincial economies.
The devolution principle, which is a enshrined in Zimbabwe’s Constitution, cedes some of the powers of central government to provincial and metropolitan councils, and empowers communities to decide and prioritise their own development programmes and projects.
It also encourages equitable sharing of local and national resources, among other things.
Releasing the provincial GDP data for 2019-2020, Zimstat director general, Taguma Mahonde said the provincial GDP statistics were compiled using data from government agencies and surveys which include, among others, Income Consumption and Expenditure Survey, Quarterly employment, Agriculture and Livestock Surveys.
“Zimstat will continue to play a pivotal role in supplying demand-driven data to all sectors of the economy. By so doing, Zimstat will be complementing the evidence-based policy making and implementation processes through the production of statistics disaggregated by province,” he said.
“The Agency is fulfilling its devolution mandate from a statistics dimension by producing sub-national statistics to enhance precision on decision and policy making. The Agency is pleased by the progress made so far in the production of decentralised statistics due to unwavering support from all the stakeholders, especially Government, Cooperating Partners, and data suppliers. Going forward, Zimstat will strive to produce statistics at micro levels like districts.”
The government has tasked provincial governments to introduce ways to measure their development through various economic indicators such as total investments attracted, jobs created, export earnings, and import substitution.