Businessman Strive Masiyiwa was so confident that change would come to Zimbabwe by December 2007 that he prepared a Zimbabwe Economic Recovery Plan with exiled Zimbabwean economists and other businessmen to speed up the country’s economic recovery.
He told United States diplomats on 12 July that former Industry and Trade Minister Nkosana Moyo was heading the initiative.
Others said to be involved in the project were Peter Robison, Callisto Madavo and Wellington Chadehumbe.
Nkosana Moyo was to be the public face of the project.
Masiyiwa said Moyo had already briefed South African Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni and Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin about the project.
South African President Thabo Mbeki was also aware of the initiative and said it was a “good thing” and “necessary,” but stressed that the South African government could not be associated with it because of political sensitivities with Harare.
Viewing cable 07PRETORIA2478, ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMEN DEVELOPING RECONSTRUCTION
RR RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #2478/01 1971400
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 161400Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0767
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1235
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1115
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0085
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0530
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0484
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0425
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 002478
DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL, M. TABLER-STONE
DEPT PASS TO USAID/AFR E. LOKEN, M. COPSON
NSC FOR SENIOR AF DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN, B. LEO
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/14/2017
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMEN DEVELOPING RECONSTRUCTION
REF: PRETORIA 356
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Teitelbaum. Reasons 1.4(
b) and (d).
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. A group of exiled Zimbabwean economists and
businessmen is developing plans for Zimbabwe’s economic
recovery once an internationally-acceptable government takes
office, according to South African-based businessman Strive
Masiyiwa. Nkosana Moyo, former Zimbabwean Minister of
Industry and Trade, is heading the initiative. The group
hopes to present their plans to key partners by December, and
thus help shorten the time for Zimbabwe’s recovery. The
plans focus both on stabilizing the macroeconomic environment
and rebuilding key sectors. On the current political crisis,
Masiyiwa believes “change will come” to Zimbabwe by December,
likely as soon as August, although it is not clear what the
change will look like. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (C) Exiled Zimbabwean businessman and Econet CEO Strive
Masiyiwa briefed PolOff July 12 on a new initiative to plan
for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. (NOTE: Masiyiwa wants to
keep the initiative — particularly his involvement —
confidential, so please protect accordingly. END NOTE.)
Called the “Zimbabwe Economic Recovery Plan” (or ZERP), the
project involves a small number of “non-partisan,” prominent
Zimbabwean economists and businessmen, mostly living in
exile, such as Peter Robinson, Callisto Madavo, and
Wellington Chadehumbe. The group is meeting with top
international economists to flesh out plans for stabilizing
Zimbabwe’s economy and kick-starting growth once an
“internationally-acceptable” government is in place in
Zimbabwe. Former Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Trade
and IFC official Nkosana Moyo is heading the project. If it
becomes necessary to go public, Moyo will be the public face
of the initiative.
¶3. (C) The group hopes to gather its key findings and
recommendations in a final “blueprint document” by December
and present it to key multilateral and bilateral partners.
The goal is to “soft circle” what needs to be done when a new
government takes office and thus cut back the recovery time.
Should change come sooner than December, the group will be
ready to present their ideas. However, Masiyiwa speculated
that there will be a period of political uncertainty
surrounding any change in power, so December is still a solid
target date. At this point, the group does not plan to
discuss the initiative with the current regime in Harare.
¶4. (C) Nkosana Moyo has briefed South African Reserve Bank
Governor Tito Mboweni and Trade and Industry Minister Alec
Erwin on their work. South African President Mbeki is aware
of the initiative and said it was a “good thing” and
“necessary,” but stressed that the South African Government
cannot be associated with it because of political
sensitivities with Harare.
¶5. (C) Masiyiwa and Moyo have divided the project into two
“work areas”: macroeconomic stability and microeconomic
reform/growth. The macro team is working with a group of
economists at Oxford, headed by Paul Collier, to develop an
action plan to deal with hyperinflation and stabilize the
macroeconomic environment. The Zimbabwean team asked Collier
to be as practical as possible, pretending he is advising a
new Zimbabwean government to take certain actions the first
100 days, other actions the next 100 days, and so on.
Collier and his Oxford team has agreed to provide their
services pro bono. The Zimbabweans and Collier are meeting
every two weeks to flesh out the details of the program.
Masiyiwa and his team last met with Collier in Oxford July
PRETORIA 00002478 002 OF 002
¶6. (C) The microeconomic team is working in eleven “activity
groups” dealing with topics such as tourism, mining, land and
agriculture, investment policy, and humanitarian aid. The
group is planing for restoration of the industrial capacity
of Zimbabwe, which they estimate will take at least three
years and USD 1 billion in capital. Masiyiwa noted that land
will be one of the most difficult topics. Their current
thinking on land is to create a non-partisan commission to
study rural development and provide recommendations.
Observing that it will be politically impossible to return to
the days of large commercial farms, Masiyiwa said the group
seeks to create a rural middle class with commercially-viable
plots of land, instead of the current peasant class,
¶7. (C) Masiyiwa wants to engage a U.S. private consulting
company, Monitor Group, headed by Tom Fuller and Michael
Porter, to provide advice and pull together the output of the
various microeconomic working groups. Monitor has not yet
provided a final quote for the services, but Masiyiwa’s
estimates it will be USD 2-3 million. The Zimbabweans may
approach key partners, possibly the USG, for co-funding of
this part of ZERP.
Views on Current Politics
¶8. (C) Turning to the current political crisis in Zimbabwe,
Masiyiwa stated flatly that “change will come no later than
December, likely by the end of August.” The only question is
what the change will look like. Masiyiwa said that Mugabe is
completely disconnected from reality and thinks his price
controls are doing good. Mugabe is attempting to repeat with
business what he did with the farms, not realizing that he is
destroying his economy.
¶9. (C) On the MDC, Masiyiwa expressed his view that “there is
only one MDC — the one led by Morgan Tsvangirai.” The other
faction has little popular support in Zimbabwe, but is led by
“some smart people” who are well-connected in the West and in
South Africa. The international community should stop trying
to force the two groups together (“humpty dumpty has fallen
off the wall”).
Comment and Action Request
¶10. (C) While we cannot comment on the details of Masiyiwa’s
economic plans, we are encouraged that the Zimbabwean
diaspora is beginning to play a more active role in planning
for their country’s future. We know South African-based
businessmen Masiyiwa and Chadehumbe well, and believe they
are serious and sharp businessmen who are genuinely committed
to the future of their country.
¶11. (C) ACTION REQUEST: We understand the USG has developed
its own plans for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery phase. If
appropriate, it may be useful to share elements of that
strategy with Masiyiwa or members of his team to inform their
thinking — and ours — in advance of the political change in
Zimbabwe. END ACTION REQUEST.