Zimbabwe: The Foreign Policy You Deserve
The foreign policy you deserve should be oriented towards economic sense as opposed to leaning towards political sense. It places economics above politics, history, and culture.
A deserving foreign policy has to be anchored around the following facets:
- Be a friend to all.
- Recognizes the power of technology, globalization, and the relevance of big tech.
- Respects human rights locally and globally but goes around sanctions and weaponization of the dollar by de-dollarizing reserves and using bitcoin as a settlements layer.
- Reduces reliance on South Africa for the production of goods and integrates Zim into the SA economy.
- Emphasizes the de-borderization of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
- Moves towards an open border policy.
Be a friend to All
The foreign policy a small nation like ours deserve is that of being a friend to all. A non-aggressive foreign policy is ideal. There is no need to pick alliances.
No Look-East policy, no Look-West policy. Don't try to be a hero. We shall not endeavor to earn fame and popularity for playing tough in global politics. We shall not try to be a kingmaker.
What doesn’t concern us should not concern us. This approach should be adopted at the global level.
The days of Robert Mugabe trying to play superman at a broken United Nations summit are over. Those stunts do not yield positive change. Our foreign policy should solely focus on maximizing wealth creation. Everything else is just a distraction. Only massive wealth creation will change the world in our favor and earn us some respect.
Simon Peter was a friend of Jesus, but John was the best. “Big Tech” should be our best friend. A dear friend.
The foreign policy you deserve recognizes the emergence of big tech as a powerful player in the global scheme of things. Though big tech has no political jurisdiction, the power they wield is global and similar to nation-states. These corporations are giants that are bigger than our small nation-states. It is time to recognize them for what they are; behemoths wielding power.
A foreign policy that's friendly to big tech, as well as any emerging tech, is non-negotiable. It is a pre-requisite for relevance in the new world. The foreign policy you deserve will integrate Zimbabwe into big tech supply chains.
This could be done by firstly executing great regulatory arbitrage on the entire world. It's a sacrifice worth making. It's the queen’s gambit, having white pieces (being the first mover), we choose to sacrifice the c-pawn. We choose to lower all our regulatory burdens to allow big tech, small tech, and any emerging tech the best of conditions to operate from our country.
Give them boys whatever they want. If Elon wants free land to launch his rockets, give him. If Mark wants open land to build server farms, that's what he gets. Cheap land and zero taxes for the fellas who want to build solar farms to power their bitcoin mining rigs. If these guys want a 0.5% corporate tax rate, we will give them. Half a loaf is better than nothing. We are desperate for them to operate in our country. We want them here.
Who wants a constant supply of artificial intelligence engineers into their ecosystem? We can give you that. As a state, we will invest in high-intensity, fast-track, block-release training programs to churn out thousands of skilled tech workers to work in your enterprises (on-site and remotely). We will convert our unemployed graduates into a cost-effective capable pool of talent.
Bring those South Korean electronics companies here. Give them whatever they want to start manufacturing semi-conductor chips in our country.
We have to view the world wearing a different set of spectacles. Technology is eating into the power bases of nation-states. Globalization and fluidity of capital and labor are multi-decade themes that are set to continue for several decades to come. Not even the rising tide of nationalism will be able to halt these themes. The underlying currents are too strong. The first movers in regulatory arbitrage (i.e the first nations to surrender to tech) get to enjoy the benefits.
Technology is emerging as the biggest superpower and any foreign policy of a nation-state should desire to be on the right side of tech.
Respect for Human Rights, De-dollarization of Reserves and Bitcoin
It goes without saying that human rights have to be respected globally and that our foreign policy must be rooted in respect for human rights. Moreso, the need to respect black lives, especially in Africa is pronounced. Dictatorial regimes have no place in the modern world that the people of Africa deserve.
Being a friend to all requires Zimbabwe's foreign policy to be friendly to the oppressed people in Africa. For example, a policy that's friendly to Ugandans would not recognize the illegitimate and dictatorial regime of Yoweri Museveni in Uganda. A responsible foreign policy will stand up to the abusive father next door.
China violates human rights time and time again, but because it's so big the USA cannot effectively put sanctions on them without triggering a trade war or even an actual war. When there are meaningful changes and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe, any form of sanction (targeted or broad-based) must be removed.
We are a small nation. Our influence on the world is so minute. Changing the direction of the country might not immediately result in the removal of sanctions. We are at the mercy of the US government and Europe.
One way to work around this weaponization of the dollar is to use bitcoin as a settlement layer, in a way, akin to utilizing a parallel monetary system. At the same time, we will keep our debts to foreigners in dollars (short the dollar) whilst de-dollarizing reserves in favor of bitcoin.
The foreign policy will not be anti-US but will be anti-weaponization of the dollar. This is the foreign policy that Zimbabwe deserves.
Reduced Reliance on South Africa
Zimbabwe relies too much on South Africa for everything. A foreign policy that seeks to reduce that reliance is ideal.
Zimbabwe needs to reformat its trade, investment, and production laws so that Zimbabwe essentially takes the form of a better South Africa. The Beitbridge border needs to be reduced to a formality on the South African side. The Zimbabwean side should be freely open for the movement of people and goods.
The goal is to firstly attain maximum freedom of movement of people and goods. Secondly and subsequently the freedom of movement of capital and businesses becomes a reality.
Once Zimbabwe’s internal production conditions are optimized to be similar and better than South Africa’s, capital flows will follow. South African businesses will seek to expand their presence into Zimbabwe, and eventually seek to produce goods from the Zim side as well as offer services from the Zim side.
When this happens, a dynamic balance is somewhat achieved. This is the foreign policy that Zimbabwe deserves. A policy that does not dwell on the liberation war history and nationalism. It's a foreign policy that prioritizes wealth creation above all as the only lasting solution for our problems. Everything else is just a distraction.
De-borderization of Zimbabwe and Zambia
There is no valid reason why Zimbabwe and Zambia are not one country.
Let's do the unprecedented thing; gradually merge our countries into one country. “We have different tribes”. So what! Out of many, we build one.
With the end goal of merging the two, the medium-term foreign policy we deserve would be the one that moves towards de-boderization. Let us ignite a trend towards removing the frictions caused by the border. Remove all tariffs, remove all embargoes, remove all duties, excise, and customs taxes. Zambians should be allowed to go in and out of Zimbabwe without a passport. The same goes for Zimbabweans. Let's create one big market for goods and services.
If we combine our resources with Zambia, we might be able to pull off something significant such as producing image sensors, consumer chips, micro-controllers, lithium batteries, and other hot products. China is already importing $300bn worth of semiconductors. Working together at the state-level with Zambia, we could poach the brightest and brilliant technologists and engineers from all over the world for venturing into this space. Standing alone, we would never be able to gather enough resources and risk appetite to make such a huge economic bet.
Open border policy.
This is the only way to go forward. The foreign policy we deserve acknowledges this reality.
Closed economies might enjoy temporary and illusory benefits, but open economies always get the last laugh.
The foreign policy we deserve is only aggressive economically. It hustles for economic benefits and re-configuration of global supply chains without being overly and outrightly political.