THE Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development has come up with an elaborate plan to export skilled, but unemployed human capital.
The plan involves setting up a database for graduates from local and external colleges and universities for job placements in friendly countries with which the ministry has signed Memoranda of Understanding.
We applaud Government’s efforts to find alternative employment opportunities for highly educated Zimbabweans at a time opportunities are limited in the country due to prevailing economic challenges that the Government is working to solve.
Government has put in place a strong framework for economic recovery and growth and prospects look good provided the country gets access to affordable lines of credit and investments in all critical sectors of the economy.
Considering the limitless potential the country holds, supported by rich endowment in natural resources, at some future point the country’s huge reservoir of skilled and educated personal will be required back home when the situation starts improving, which is inevitable.
As such, Government will find it easier to court its own citizens working in foreign land to come back and play their roles in recovery and growth, which does not look too distant.
Besides, by coming up with the labour export policy Government is not inventing the wheel, as this has worked miracles for Asian nations among them Indonesia, Philippines and India, which have benefited in terms of knowledge gained by exported labour and remittances.
As such, given the limited formal employment opportunities, the export labour strategy will help the Government secure a short-term solution to employment challenges while working on measures to create new jobs.
Global export labour remittances run into billions of dollars per year and form important cornerstones of economic growth and development of recipient countries, which Zimbabwe is already benefiting from, but could amplify the gains through a more co-ordinated approach.
In the near future, exported skills must bring back work experience gained outside to make a difference back home in terms of transforming and growing the domestic economy.
However, we believe that the route for Government to export excess skilled or educated labour requires fine balancing in that this should only be short-term as far as it relates to creating alternative employment not survival strategy.
Government must not lose sight of the need to create sufficient employment opportunities for people to avoid a situation where the best brains are exported yet Government would have invested a lot and, ideally, be looking to retain the best home grown talent within its borders.
Absence of certain specialist skills, for instance in education, health, engineering and science fields could have untold impact on efforts to grow and develop the economy.
As such, the Government needs to play a fine balancing act to achieve mutual benefit from its strategy of labour export, as the policy must in the end not be counterproductive.
Further, the best treatment in jobs and personal fulfilment for human capital can be found in one’s country of birth, which exhorts the Government to work hard to create opportunities for its people in the domestic economy.
Sweating natural and mineral resources is one of the approaches to create employment, so is value addition and beneficiation, which Government should continue to leverage to create many more formal jobs on the domestic front.
Government should devote its energies to growing the economy so that many educated and skilled, but unemployed Zimbabweans can find sustenance in their country.
It is against this background that Government should focus on creating a conducive environment for industry to grow.
The growth of industry means that more jobs will be created and measures should be taken to attract investment.