Diaspora Matters

Diaspora Matters

Interview With Award Winning Ruth Marimo

We are always reaching out to the Diaspora community, interviewing our brothers and sisters based on foreign soil. We have to date covered Canada, Dubai, India, Angola, Namibia and today we cover USA.  We we feature a sister who recently won an award for her company Ruth Cleaning Service. We send her 9 questions in order to know her better. Below are questions and answers from her;
1.  Can you please tell us about yourself, Who is Ruth Marimo?
 Ruth Marimo is a 37 year old single mother of two who lives in Bellevue, Nebraska. She has authored two books, a memoir titled ‘Outsider: Crossing Borders, Breaking Rules, Gaining pride’, which chronicles her immigration journey from her country of origin, Zimbabwe, as well as the complexities of being a multiple minority, a work of fiction titled ‘Indelicate Things’, she has also co-authored ‘Women Beyond Belief’, and she was featured in the book ‘Pantsuit Nation’. Marimo was a TEDX Omaha speaker for 2015, a 2012 Yale LGBTQ Conference speaker, a 2016 Harvard LGBTQ Conference panelist, was nominated for a 2017 Young Black and Influential Award in Omaha. She has a residential and commercial cleaning business called ‘Ruth’s Cleaning Service’ that has been growing for 6 years. Her commercial clients include non-profits like The Union For Contemporary Arts, and Women’s Fund of Omaha. When she is not busy raising her two kids, she speaks and fights for many causes including racial inequality, immigration reform, LGBTQ equality, and she also mentors at risk youth.

Through her worldly experiences, Marimo works hard to impart some of the knowledge she has gained with her peers that are back in Africa, and uses the values she learnt in Africa to give people here a different perspective. Ruth Marimo also enjoys the challenges that come with being a small business owner and being able to give other people an income while providing a much needed service. Her number one job is that of raising her two children who are aged 11 and 13, who excel in both sports and academics. Being a voice for the marginalized is something Marimo is deeply passionate about.

2.  How did u start your company:

I learned about the cleaning business while helping a former partner and her mother with their cleaning business. I used the internet to research how best to start and build up my business, what materials to buy, how to market my business and how to train myself as well as employees to produce professional work.

3.  What are the key challenges you faced:

In the beginning marketing was tough, it took a while to have enough clients who believed in our work. Once we built trust with these clients, they started referring our business and things got simpler. The other challenge is finding reliable employees, I have mostly been lucky in this regard.

4.   Who supported you in your business?:

In the beginning I received a lot of support from my church family at the time, someone coached me on how to become a good business owner, someone else helped me with my first supplies, others became our very first clients.

5.  Do you have a business background?:

I actually have a nursing background, but I am also an author and activist and have been my own boss for the last decade.

6. Any plans to expand your business:

My business is growing all the time, I want to grow slowly and without taking on debt.

7.  Congrats on winning a recent award, what is it about?:

The 40 under 40 Midlands Business journal Award honors 40 greater Omaha, Sarpy County and Council Bluffs entrepreneurs, executives and professional men and women under 40 years of age each year.

8.  You have done several presentations, tell us more about them:

In my activism work I have had the chance to speak at places like Harvard and Yale and TEDX Omaha.

9.  What advice would you give to women interested in starting business: Write a business plan, figure out how to get it launched, work harder than anyone else and just get it done.

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Diaspora Matters

Free book on solving unemployment


The Zimbabwe Business Ideas and Network has a lot of talented writers who are members of the forum. We are always encouraging members to bring articles and books for publication. Today we feature a free book on solving the unemployment problem and the book was written by King Bee or Blessing Mashapa.

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Diaspora Matters

Investment Idea with the highest return


As Zimbabwe starts the economic turn around journey there is one area we recommend for our members. The area used to give returns of 12 for every dollar invested. You want to do a guess work of the area? Well the area is Dairy Farming this is according to research studies carried out by the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers or ZADF. Their website is and contains a lot of good information on dairy farming in Zimbabwe. We recommend that you visit the site and read a lot of useful information.

This weekend we are not in dairy farming but we zero in on a lucrative sector or energy. The demand for energy keeps going up. This week we covered the expansion of urban areas in Zimbabwe, the urbanisation process is growing at a faster rate than ZESA can cope with. As a result the gap is filled with alternative energy of which solar is a good option.

Solar has been in demand and those who made big monies did not supply individual households. They targeted Government, NGO and Big Corporates. Even local authorities participated on the tender market with Murewa RDC and lately Rusape Town Council flighting tenders. The trend for local authorities is likely to keep going upwards.

This is the sector where the money is, an improvement in the economy means more demand for energy especially in the farming and peri urban areas. All the new suburbs coming up will have to temporarily rely on solar energy before ZESA connects them. We therefore urge our members to do a detailed study of this sector with a view to invest in it in the nearby future.

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Diaspora Matters

Civil Works And Construction Tenders – Zimbabwe


There are a few major construction projects going on in the country but we encourage our members to be on the look out for major government construction projects in the pipeline. If you want big monies in Zimbabwe then the construction sector is a crucial sector you need not miss.

When the economy finally opens up to investors one sector that is likely to benefit most is the construction industry. We expect to see new buildings coming up, new construction projects by new investors or Government funded. We are going to be tracking these for the benefit of our members. You need investment information at the tip of your fingures.

One area you need to track is that of tenders, who is tendering what and where and this morning we share with you a wonderful site that tracks construction tenders in Zimbabwe. The link for the site is below:

113 Record Matches Your Request
Showing 1 – 10 Records
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Industry , Infrastructure and construction
Description: Supply Material And Partitioning Of:lot 1. Accounts Office Lot 2. Registry Office Lot 3. Licensing Office
Action Deadline: 20 Dec 2017 Ref. no.: 430539499
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Infrastructure and construction , Telecommunications
Description: Supply, Install And Commission Of A Local Area Network [lan]
Action Deadline: 09 Jan 2018 Ref. no.: 430523702
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Industry – Cement
Description: Supply Of Building Materials -2 406,50kg Cement
Action Deadline: 14 Dec 2017 Ref. no.: 430523701
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Prequalification Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Water and Sanitation , Infrastructure and construction
Description: Chinhoyi Water Augmentation Project
Action Deadline: 09 Jan 2018 Ref. no.: 430523700
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Prequalification Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Infrastructure – Building
Description: Construction Of Office Complex In Harare, Zimbabwe
Action Deadline: 29 Dec 2017 Ref. no.: 430515111
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Infrastructure and construction , Infrastructure – Building
Description: Refurbisment Of An Existing Building Structure
Action Deadline: 09 Jan 2018 Ref. no.: 430515096
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Transportation – Roads and highways , Infrastructure and construction , Infrastructure – Roads and Highways
Description: Supply, Delivery, Installation And Commissioning Of New Traffic Signals At 14(tburteen) Intersections Within The City Of Harare.
Action Deadline: 02 Jan 2018 Ref. no.: 430393182
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Infrastructure and construction
Description: Supply And Tiling Of Hoot Tiles
Action Deadline: 28 Dec 2017 Ref. no.: 430393181
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Infrastructure – Roads and Highways , Infrastructure – Building
Description: Construction Of Fountain Court Car Park Paving
Action Deadline: 21 Dec 2017 Ref. no.: 430393174
View Tender Details: View Details
Tender Notice Type: Tender Notice Country : Zimbabwe
Tender Category: Infrastructure – Building
Description: Construction Of The Following (labour Only)-1×4 Classroom Block
Action Deadline: 15 Dec 2017 Ref. no.: 430325929
View Tender Details: View Details

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Diaspora Matters

Investment Advice for Diaspora Sisters


We often get inquiries from our members based locally and in the diaspora. They inquire about available business opportunities in the country and the region. We never hesitate to assist wherever feasible and today we feature another request from a ZBIN member.

Based in UK, she is interested in returning home to invest. She does not want to immediately come, she would like to test the waters by doing investment on a piecemeal basis.

Our recommendation to her which will benefit many others is as follows;

Investment in Private Schools.

Here is interesting information-the population of urban centres continue to grow. All urban and peri urban areas are experiencing expansions. One just needs to look at Harare where new suburbs are cropping up every year. All these suburbs need schools and the Government or City Council is not constructing any new schools. So who is filling the gap? Private investors of course. One needs to look at the number of privately owned pre-schools and schools in Harare which include Tynwald, The Vattal, Divaris Makaharis etc.

The wife of Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa-Prophetess Ruth Makandiwa is also building a school in Sunningdale, Harare. The trend of new schools is the same in places such as Goodhope, Ruwa, Mainway Meadows and Manyame Park. A visit to small towns such as Mt Darwin, Mutoko, Rusape and Gwanda also shows massive expansions in terms of residential suburbs-who is providing schools for these new areas?

Sisters getting together

Do carry out detailed market surveys of private schools in Harare, visit all the new areas being developed and find out whether there are commercial stands available for schools. Form companies in the diaspora, raise funds and come and invest home.

We hope this helps.

Asante sana

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Diaspora Matters

Weekly Update: What is in the budget for you?


ZBIN wraps up the carpet making course phase one in the coming weeks. The phase one involved launching the programme regionally which saw us travelling to Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland.

We dared to dream and got interesting tales to tell. Indeed Africa is blessed with endless opportunities, to benefit you need to have a positive mindset and be willing to take the risks. I remember our advert going viral across the region reaching out to millions of Africans across the region….in one weekend we had thousands of people reacting to our advert. We probably had the most invites ever for a Zimbabwean organisation. Thousands wanted us to visit Lesotho, They wanted us in Mzuzu, East London, Cape Town, Francis Town….the list is endless.

We invited a few champions to come for training in Harare and had 7 selected members coming to Harare for training so that they could go and launch it in their countries. It was not an easy decision for those who decided to come to Zimbabwe especially those coming for the first time. Some were warned of human trafficking and we had a gentleman coming to our offices inorder to check whether we are genuine. In Lesotho on the groups we had formed the members started conversing in their local language with the word Mugabe being mentioned several times…before we knew it, the 5 people who were supposed to visit Harare had developed cold feet…they later on found good excuses not to come.

The training went ahead minus Lesotho and we successfully launched the programme in Harare at our offices in Monavale. The trained champions did a fabulous jobs of helping us to coordinate the regional launch in their respective countries.

They helped us to travel to Nelspruit, Durban, Mthata, Joburg, Pietermaritzburg, East London etc. We even went to Lesotho and proved that no human trafficking was going to happen in Harare. Our support to champions in Botswana, Malawi and Swaziland saw us reaching out to hundreds of trainees directly and thousands indirectly.

Success Stories.
1. We helped to form more than 8 women owned companies.
2. Program adopted by 2 governments
3. More than 15 Facebook Pages on tapestry formed.
4. Supported entrepreneurs with funding templates.
5. Added more than 5,000 regional members to ZBIN.
6. Helped secure markets for trainees.
7. Negotiated for establishment of one stop shops for supplies in Limbe, Malawi and Albertina Sisulu Street in Johannesburg.

The program was a pilot phase had a lot of challenges but the overall result is that it was a success. The second phase is going to be bigger and better and corporate sponsored. It will involve the support of the thousands of women across Southern Africa especially in terms of markets. Market fairs, arts and crafts hubs will be following in 2018. We also introduced Digital Marketing hubs and started with the Mpumalanga Real Queens in Action where in the first week they reached 100,000 views-not bad for a pilot project that seeks to help women entrepreneurs with useful business information.

What next for ZBIN in 2018?
A big project is under development. We know the region better—from Cape Town to Walvis Bay, East London to Limbe, Durban to Maseru. In the process we developed strong business linkages, distribution networks and will be using them to launch other initiatives. More to follow once the projects are complete.

Budget Review.
The Finance Minister presented a game changing budget and we think the many analysts we have in the country have done enough justice to the budget. What is perhaps missing in all the analysis is what is in it for the entrepreneur? We hope to cover this in detail during the week and look at specific policies or initiatives that will directly benefit the small or individual business owner.

Another question is why do we have yearly budgets? How about 5 years budgets which are broken down into annual budgets? This will enable us to see the big picture and compare the yearly budget versus previous budgets and performance against the 5 year budget. A five year budget allows a minister leeway to strategically plan for the long term. We urge long term planning and long term budgeting with the yearly budget not being a surprise.

The starting process In budgeting is having a strategic plan or initiative in place which will inform the creation of a budget. The official strategic plan for the government Is the ZIMASSET, how does the Budget align to ZIMASSET? Are there targets from ZIMASSET to be met in the budget? Hoping that in future when government strategic plans are devised, they will align them to the budget for ease of tracking and monitoring. The current budgeting process needs tweaking and we hope next year will be better.

Wots Up this week?
We hope to feature a Bitcoin interview of some of the Zimbos who are doing well with Bitcoin Mining. We have not done Facebook Lives in a while and we will be reaching out to our members to feature on our platform and help others with key information.

Wishing you a blessed week.

Asante Sana

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Diaspora Matters

Dr Strive Masiyiwa’s farm


On my way from Malawi at Nyamapanda Border, I met 3 white brothers who were coming from Zim. Whilst waiting for my passport to be stamped- the brothers started talking about their journey to Zw and how they were scouring for opportunities……great stuff we need more investors, everyone is free to come and we thank Chinamasa for a job well done in reversing some of the policies which hindered Investment.

Whilst discussing with them, I emphasized that they are probably a bit late! South African investors have been in and out of the country for the past 6-8 years. Analysing political and economic environments with a view to invest in the country. They were waiting for a trigger so as to rush and grab Opportunities ……give them credit for preparedness.

Now so what advice can we give to would be investors? Our forum has been in existence for more than 2 years and we specifically formed it inorder to take advantage of Opportunities, local or international.

We have more than 460 free articles on Opportunities on our website! We often joke that our members are dangerous- yep dangerous coz when it comes to business, they are well informed.

Anyway back to Dr Strive, he runs a popular page on Facebook we encourage our members to follow the page- very helpful articles published on a weekly basis.

His latest article is on farming, opportunities in agriculture and he talks of how he is doing ‘farming’. So where is his farm? Is he a multi farm owner?

Here is his answer- he provides micro insurance services to the agriculture industry in Zimbabwe and according to him ‘he is making a lot of money.
So this is how he is farming, this is his cellphone farming and it’s doing well.

Hama dzinodiwa handei ne Hondo yeminda part 4, provision of services to support Farmers! We may not all be fortunate to get land but this should not discourage you from ‘farming’ Let’s be agri-prenuers.Support Command Agriculture or whatever Command programme and look at the supply or service industries.

Unenge uchitorimawo kunyangwe usina kubata gejo. Masiyiwa rake gejo nderepa insurance, ko rako gejo nderei?

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Diaspora Matters

Agricultural opportunities in Lesotho


One of the must visit countries in Southern Africa is Lesotho, a great country, lovely people and great tourist sites too. We were in Maseru last month and enjoyed every minute we were there. We look forward to a follow up trip in February 2018. Below we feature opportunities available in the agricultural field.


Roughly 80% of Lesotho’s population depends on the agricultural sector for their livelihoods. However, agriculture’s contribution to GDP has declined over the last five years. In recent years, the government embarked on a block farming program to increase production through subsidies and central planning. Despite flagging agricultural production, the government plans to continue these subsidy programs to combat hunger and poverty. Although the government has not been actively seeking investors in the agriculture sector, there are opportunities in aquaculture, horticulture, and poultry farming.


Lesotho has two large reservoirs built under the LHWP, and a third reservoir is planned under Phase II. According to feasibility studies, the water in the existing dams offers near perfect climatic and environmental conditions for trout production. As a result, two trout farms, Katse Fish Farm (KFF) and Highlands Trout (HT), operate at Katse Dam. KFF is licensed to produce 1,200 tons/annum, whereas HT is licensed to produce 2,500 tons/annum. KFF exports primarily to food service outlets in Southern Africa. HT exports primarily to Japan.  There are opportunities to establish additional farms at Mohale dam, and the proposed Polihali dam.


Horticulture is growing in Lesotho, and is getting an increasing focus after the implementation of the World Bank-supported Private Sector Competitiveness (PSC) Project. The project has two sub-components: the production of vegetables and the production of fruit trees, specifically apples and cherries. Two South African companies, Alpha Farms and Denmar estates, have partnered with farmers in Lesotho to produce for the Lesotho, South Africa and EU markets. Due to the country’s elevation, good soil, and abundance of water, the quality of the produce is good, and the fruits ripen earlier than in other countries in the southern hemisphere, offering an opportunity to supply the regional market early in the season. In addition, Lesotho’s climate is good for mushroom farming, and the kind of mushroom produced in Lesotho is in high demand in South Africa, Botswana and other southern African countries. Lesotho currently does not have processing and packing facilities for these products, so another opportunity exists in food processing.

Commercial Poultry Farming

Eggs and chicken are one of the major sources of protein consumed in Lesotho, but the poultry industry is relatively under-developed. Most poultry farmers are subsistence farmers, and their capacity is too low to supply the whole country. There is only one hatchery producing day old chicks and it does not meet market demand; the gap is met by imports from South Africa. There is need to have a fully integrated poultry industry from hatchery to market, including hatcheries, farms and a slaughterhouse. There are opportunities for U.S. companies to establish a fully integrated poultry farming operation in Lesotho or to supply poultry farming equipment such as incubators, chemicals, and slaughterhouse equipment.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. 

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2018 Business Opportunities Available in Malawi


We were in Malawi over the weekend and enjoyed our stay in the beautiful city of Blantyre. Very clean city, they should consider calling it the Sunshine City. We urge Harare City Councillors to go for a secondment with the City of Blantyre-there is a lot they will learn about city management. The city however need to improve in terms of town planning as the roads are always congested with cars just like most cities across Africa. Electricity shortages seem to be worsening and we hope that a solution to the problem will come in the nearby future.

Buying and Selling Opportunities

We will start with the simple business opportunities, those that do not require a lot of capital nor sophisticated business know-how and that is Buying and Selling or in short-vending! What are Zimbabweans buying from Malawi and selling in Zimbabwe and vice versa?

1.Malawi Rice:

There is no better rice on earth than Kilombero and this is an indisputable fact! Malawi rice tastes good and has a great scent as well. Once you eat Malawi rice then you would not want to eat any other rice. The world famous Kilombero is in huge demand in Zimbabwe and South Africa. This is the number one export from Malawi to Zimbabwe. Every bus travelling from Blantyre to Harare has at least 300 kilograms of the tasty rice. More could be done transport the rice in a better way and even open depots in Zimbabwe and South Africa. We established that some Zimbos are now into contractual arrangements with Malawians whereby rice is send to Zimbabwe to be sold with funds send to Malawi later. There is plenty of room for improvement in this area and innovative and enterprising business people are encouraged to do market studies and researches and study the current business models or practices in the Kilombero rice industry.

2.Chitenje or Afro wear

Extremely cheap in Malawi, those selling it in Blantyre are selling it at $1.25 per metre. At source the price is $0.6 per metre but selling price is $3-$6/m in Zimbabwe. Malawians are not doing enough to market the Chitenjes especially beyond their borders. We hope that our  digital marketing greatly assisted them in thinking beyond their borders. There is unlimited demand for Afro wear across Southern Africa but little is happening in pushing the Chitenjes especially on the digital market platform which is cost effective.

Strategic Investment 

Tourist numbers keep rising and some are getting strategic land on the shores of Lake Malawi. The number of buses plying the Blantyre-Harare route has increased to 3. For a long time only one bus used to ply the route and that is ZUPCO but now the number has increased to 3 and may possibly increase to 4 in 2018. Zimbabweans flocking to Malawi are doing so looking at the donor funded sectors-a lot of consultants are flocking to Malawi. We have met consultants in the engineering, accountancy and many other industries.

So we urge you to take a closer look at Malawi. We have only covered a few areas in this article. Detailed investment opportunities available in Malawi to be distributed to our subscribed members.


Do not travel to Mozambique or Malawi without a yellow fever book. This is for travelers who have been to countries such as Angola, Zambia or the western world. If you have been to UK, Australia or US, they require you to have this book or you will be faced to part with $15 at every point. Some end up paying up to $75 to corrupt border officials in Mozambique and Malawi.






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Rwanda cabinet Make Up


Our forum adopted Rwanda as one of the countries that we closely follow, the country is one of the leading economic success stories on the continent . On a weekly basis, we feature Rwandese business stories on our Facebook Page for discussion. After the unforgettable experience of the genocide in the 90s, the country has transformed its economy to one of the fastest growing  on the continent. The ease of doing business is second to none. One can open a company in less than 6 hours!

With our ow government i the process of transforming the economy ad coming up with a lea cabinet make up, we decided to feature Rwanda as a benchmark and below we publish the Rwanda cabinet. What is interesting is not only the size of the cabinet but when the cabinet ministers joined office.

Office Ministry Incumbent Date of entry into office
President Office of the President of Rwanda Paul Kagame March 2000
Prime Minister OPM Edouard Ngirente[2] August 2017
Minister of Local Government Minaloc Francis Kaboneka[2] July 2014[3]
Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Minagri Gérardine Mukeshimana[2] July 2014
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minaffet Louise Mushikiwabo[2] 2010
Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Minecofin Claver Gatete[2] February 2013
Minister of Defence MOD James Kabarebe[2] April 2010[4]
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Minijust Johnston Busingye[2]
Minister of Health MOH Diane Gashumba[2] October 2016[5]
Minister in the Office of the President Minipresirep Judith Uwizeye[2] August 2017
Minister of Cabinet Affairs Minicaaf Marie-Solange Kayisire[2] August 2017
Minister of Trade and Industry Minicom Vincent Munyeshyaka[2] August 2017
Minister of Education Mineduc Papias Malimba Musafiri[2] June 2015[6]
Minister of Infrastructure Mininfra James Musoni[2] July 2014[7]
Minister of Lands and Forestry Minilaf Francine Tumushime[2] August 2017
Minister for Environment Minirena Vincent Biruta[2] July 2014
Minister of Sports and Culture Minispoc Julienne Uwacu[2] February 2015
Minister for ICT MICT Jean-Philbert Nsengimana[2] August 2017
Minister for Youth Miniyou Rosemary Mbabazi[2] August 2017
Minister of Public Service and Labour Mifotra Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa[2] August 2017
Minister of Gender and Family Promotion Migeprof Espérance Nyirasafari[2] October 2016
Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Midimar Jeanne d’Arc Debonheur[2] August 2017
Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board RDB Clare Akamanzi February 2017
Permanent Representative to the United Nations Minaffet Valentine Rugwabiza October 2016

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