After the news on Venezuela nationalizing its steel company Sidor, I regret to report some favorable numbers out of Zimbabwe for both its output of platinum and nickel during the first quarter of this year. However, according to this Mineweb article, the increased output was due to investment from two power house mining companies, Implats and Anglo Platinum. Copper, on the other hand, did not fare as well, although its output only fell marginally.
One would think that with a booming commodities market, Zimbabwe, rich in natural resources would be able to take advantage of this. But alas, they have not primarily due to a lack of overseas investment given Mugabe’s bizarre policies not of nationalization but localization (taking land from whites and transferring it to blacks). This policy was used primarily in farming, but it also affected the mining industry. Now and perhaps not ironically, Mugabe has asked many white farmers to come back and take over their farms, primarily to supply food domestically. The country never used to have food shortages.
Mugabe doesn’t need to look abroad for ideas on better public policies. He need only turn to his own farm policies for a few lessons. Maybe the people of Zimbabwe can voice their own policy on June 27, the date of the runoff election. Let’s hope there is a new leader who embraces foreign investment and capitalism. Not only is it good for the people of Zimbabwe, it’s good for all of us.