The document published as the successor to STERP, the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme, is the MTP, or Medium Term Plan, the Zero Draft version of which has now been released by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion. The document’s 133 pages carry detailed and well-prepared descriptions of the current state of the economy’s major sectors and go on to describe how much more effectively each sector will perform when policies that will overcome current handicaps have been adopted.
However, descriptions of current problems and assurances of how much better things will work in the future do not constitute a plan.
Various ideas can be assembled to define or describe a plan, such as:
- A detailed proposal for doing or achieving something
- The preparations made to handle an expected event, or to deliver an intended result
- The most sensible course of action.
- An organized programme of measures taken in order to achieve a goal.
- An outline of the steps required to reach an objective by making the best use of available resources.
Other concepts might need to be considered, such as scale, or urgency. Every country has to occasionally make momentous decisions – the sort of decisions that affect the entire destiny of the country for years to come. These decisions have to address the biggest and most important issues facing the country’s population, so a definition of strategic planning must encompass the need to take big decisions and the ability to follow through in good time.
In this document, many of the descriptions of the success awaiting Zimbabwe are based on assumptions, such as that the country’s relations with those international bodies that can support development plans will become normalised, and that their offers to Zimbabwe of Balance of Payments support will therefore become a major source of funding. But when the document is examined to find the backing for such assumptions, they cannot be found.