The Sunday Mail
The Indigenous Business Women’s Organisation (IBWO) has hailed the emphatic election victory of President Mnangagwa in the July 30, 2018 harmonised polls, saying his success will allow him to transform the economy through pro-business policies.
The organisation said the President-elect has already demonstrated his ability to open up Zimbabwe for external investment.
Since his inauguration on November 24 last year and throughout his campaign messages ahead of the watershed elections, the President stated unequivocally that politics will play second fiddle to economics in the Second Republic, as Zimbabwe bids for middle income status by 2030.
In the recent Presidential poll, Zanu- PF candidate, President Mnangagwa trounced his opponents emphatically after romping to victory with a healthy margin of 50,8 percent of the total votes while his closest rival, Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance, garnered 44,3 percent.
President Mnangagwa’s Zanu-PF party also triumphed with a landslide victory in the National Assembly elections after taking 144 seats out of the electable 210, effectively guaranteeing over two thirds majority for the vanguard party.
The women’s affirmative action group (IBWO) said it is hopeful that Government, led by President Mnangagwa, will move beyond rhetoric of yesteryear and implement specific policies to support the growth of businesses, particularly women’s businesses.
IBWO president, Dr Jane Mutasa said the advocacy grouping’s members across the country now want peace to prevail countrywide post the July elections. They are also confident that President Mnangagwa’s administration will guarantee the security women need to go about their entrepreneurial activities.
Dr Mutasa said due to President Mnangagwa’s stance on opening up Zimbabwe for business, Zimbabwe is on a firm path to receiving massive inflows of foreign direct investment. She said this will enable the country to create employment.
“IBWO would like to congratulate President Mnangagwa on his victory in the harmonised elections. As women, we want peace because when there is no peace, it is the women and children who suffer the most.
“When peace prevails, the women of Zimbabwe will be able to carry on with their businesses freely and put food on their tables. Zimbabwe has a peaceful people and we are looking forward to the President making sure that people access cash in the banks so that we deal with the current hiccups in our business activities.
“We need to put our heads together. We are proud that our President is a man of his words, he is a man of action,” she said.
Dr Mutasa said IBWO is confident that the President’s “Zimbabwe is Open for business” mantra will see Zimbabwe post significant milestones in attracting foreign investment, which is critical to revive ailing industries and start new ones.
Already, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority indicated it had approved a record $16,7 billion investment project proposals in the first five months of this year, compared to $1,8 billion recorded for the entire 12 months last year.
Firm investment commitments running well over $20 billion have also been received across sectors that include mining and energy. This shows the high investor appetite and growing confidence in President Mnangagwa’s administration.
“Without foreign currency to manufacture products, local companies will not move forward. Many businesses have indeed opened up and this will help manufacturing companies to increase production.
She said women expect the Government to create platforms that will allow women to access funding for their formal and informal business initiatives.
In June this year, President Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank in Harare. The bank seeks to champion women’s financial inclusion through availing affordable funding options.
Dr Mutasa said affirmative action aimed at supporting women is critical given that they constitute the majority of the population.
“We need a deliberate policy to help women’s businesses. Other banks must stretch out their hands to help the women of Zimbabwe with funding. It is not about women’s desks, but it’s about specific policies to help the women.
“It is high time we put our heads together to build the country with more involvement of women. We need to find strategies and modalities of marketing products produced by women. Women are not playing on a level playing field,” Dr Mutasa said.
The IBWO president said inequalities regarding the participation of women in business can be addressed through deliberate policies to fund, support and promote their business activities.
Dr Mutasa said while women are happy that the Government had established a women’s bank dedicated to support and promote women’s entrepreneurial initiatives, there is need for other banks to come in.
“As we focus on making Zimbabwe a middle income country by 2030, nobody should be left behind. Once we reach middle income status, we would have succeeded in meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” she said.