The Sunday Mail
The investments coming our way are largely a result of the engagement and re-engagement thrust, buttressed by the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ mantra. These have not been statements of intent but have been applied wholesome, hence the results.
Zimbabwe’s participation at the just-ended World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, is a clear indication that this country will not relent in its engagement and re-engagement thrust as it also cements the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra.
This is as it should be.
So much will accrue to the economy just by our mere presence there.
Of course, we are confident Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Fredrick Shava and his delegation did more to engage the people who matter as the country seeks to raise the bar in its economic thrust.
The forum is one of the most important global gatherings that bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, the academia, the media and the arts, among other key stakeholders.
To put things into perspective, at least 2 700 leaders from 130 countries attended this year’s meeting to discuss key global issues such as climate change, economic issues and the Ukraine-Russia war.
It is, therefore, not difficult to discern how such a huge gathering of policymakers, big corporates and multilateral lenders such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) would benefit this country’s economy.
The theme this year was “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”.
“We live in fast-moving times and in a highly interconnected world. Pressing global problems can arise quickly and without warning. Yet, to address them requires levels of global cooperation that are difficult to attain precisely because of the complexity of the world. It is within this framework that the World Economic Forum’s stakeholder approach to progress has proven both robust and adaptable.
“The forum’s experience since its foundation more than 40 years ago is that there are few issues that cannot be adequately addressed by bringing together the most relevant actors from all sectors – business, government and civil society – in an environment of trust and openness,” said WEF founder and executive chairman Professor Klaus Schwab in his foreword to the forum’s brochure.
Zimbabwe can, therefore, not afford to be absent at such crucial gatherings.
Her relevance in global affairs and, particularly in such discourses, can only gather momentum through such foras. You find all the who’s who of the entire globe.
Sometimes, if not most times, we do not have to reinvent the wheel, hence participation at the forum can be a window through which the country is updated on what is in vogue. We can, thus, adopt some strategies for our good. So much happens at WEF.
Minister Shava, Finance Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzenza, their teams and business leaders who made up Zimbabwe’s delegation would attest to the importance of attending such meetings.
They surely emerged from the five-day encounter richer in terms of trade and investment deals, more contacts among the trolley of goodies that this country can maximise on.
Furthermore, image-building, international engagement and re-engagement form one of the 14 pillars of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
It says a good image and improved international relations will leverage the country’s competitiveness “to attract investment, promote economic and national wealth within the environment of globalisation”.
Zimbabwe’s image has not been the best over the past few decades but this is changing as a result of the aggressive stance adopted by the Second Republic.
Indeed, in this vein, alertness to global developments remains critical. Increasingly, geo-political affairs such as the Russia-Ukraine war are having a great impact on domestic economies. So, a confluence of ideas on how to progress, particularly in terms of disruptions in the global supply chain and other effects, is critical.
The globe has become a village in many respects.
What happens to your neighbour and even those far away will have a huge bearing on your household, hence issues regional, continental and global are no longer far-fetched or irrelevant to our national discourse.
Everyone in this village is required to know what everyone else is doing. We need to be in the thick of things so that we are not left behind in handling the dynamics therefrom.
The past few years have seen Zimbabwe attract a number of huge investments in the mould of the Bikita Lithium Project, Invictus Energy’s Muzarabani oil and gas project, the Dinson Iron and Steel Company plant in Manhize and more in mining, agriculture, manufacturing and other sectors of the economy.
Of course, we are not yet where we would want to be but we all agree thousands of jobs have been created and more are in the offing.
Many communities are already benefiting from corporate social responsibility programmes launched by these investors. More appears to be in the offing this year.
The investments coming our way are largely a result of the engagement and re-engagement thrust, buttressed by the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra. These have not been statements of intent but have been applied wholesome, hence the results.
Zimbabwe is slowly featuring prominently where it matters most and the world is warming up to who we are and what we are about as a country.
But, as we play with the big boys on the grand stage, we must also work at developing our economic stamina so that we are no pushovers or that we become gullible even to unhealthy deals. We have done well so far.
Our economy needs to perform better in all its facets and our policies congruent to our mantras so that we win big at the world stage.
Home-grown solutions have a role to play in creating a robust foundation that will attract the requisite investment and business deals that we yearn for.
Zimbabweans are renowned for their hospitality and this can be extended towards creating a more friendly investment environment that leaves investors with no choice but to come this way.
A reminder that everyone is competing for investment should keep us on our toes as we continue to improve our operating environment.
A lot of ground has been covered in terms of infrastructure and adoption of shorter project approval processes. This is work in progress.
This country attracts global attention on any day. Of course, we have attracted both enemies and friends but the President’s deliberate thrust of being a friend to all and enemy to none will surely carry the day for this nation. Those who may have chosen to be our enemies will surely see the light one day soon.
There is a whole future for this country, which we must make happen. Let our presence be felt everywhere.
We continue to break records while our diasporans excel in the portfolios they occupy to the north, south, east and west of the world. Kanyika kano kane nharo!
In God I Trust!