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Diaspora Matters

Weekly Update: New Zimbabwe, New Business Opportunities

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What a week it has been for Zimbabwe! Unbelievable stuff,  we had never anticipated that what happened during the last week would ever happen during our lifetime. The rest of the world was taken by surprise and even up to now-we are still in shock.

There is no doubt that we have crossed the Rubicon, Zimbabwe will never be the same again. We wait with bated breath for a new administration in town that will work for the betterment of Zimbabwean citizens.

We choose to be optimistic and this is the momentum built up yesterday from across the country and the Diaspora too. We choose to see the light at the end of the tunnel and say Hallelujah.   At the centre of the change is the agenda on the economy. No meaningful economic development had been taking place since 2013 and this is self evident. A lot of good policies had been drafted but few got fully implemented, few improved the livelihoods of Zimbabweans.

Taking Stock

We are positive that a new team will be taking charge of business in the coming few months. A new team that will transform Zimbabwe to be the ‘Jewel of Africa’ that it once was. We hope to see a diverse team that inspires confidence, a vibrant team that takes advantage of the rich human capital that Zimbabwe posseses. We hope to see the Diaspora being recognised as a key influential constituent that not only remits funds but can assist in terms of direct investment. The sector currently remits $800m which is twice the amount of Direct Foreign Investment-this shows that the sector is a crucial sector in helping the economy. If favourable policies and an enabling environment is put in place, the sector can contribute more. Some are willing to relocate and contribute to the economic development of the country. We witnessed this with the solidarity marches carried out yesterday-they did not involve locals only as the diaspora community from all corners of the world participated in sending the message to the world-Zimbabwe needed change.

We therefore look forward to authorities taking a leaf from countries such as India where they have a standalone ministry on Diaspora affairs. A ministry that listens to this community of more than 3 million citizens helping them in terms of investment, relocation and other issues. The previous administration was not really interested in this sector, they did not see the potential that lie in this sector-the result is they lost out on funds that could have assisted the economy.

Enabling Environment

We hope to see an improvement in the enabling environment for investors-both local and foreign. It is good that a number of policies had been put in place for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ . More need to be done especially tackling corruption. A look at the Corruption Index should show where we are placed as a nation when it comes to corruption which has been hindering investment and development. We hope to see an improvement in the ranking and we can take a leaf from Rwanda where there is zero tolerance on corruption. The zero tolerance has resulted in excellent economic performance by Rwanda.

Advantage Entrepreneurship

At the centre of the economic turn- around we expect entrepreneurship to take centre stage. This is the sector that dominates the economy and therefore expect a review of policies and support systems. We hope to see an improvement in engagement, an improvement in access  to funds, markets and technology. We are looking forward to a vibrant team that inspires confidence in the sector. With millions unemployed, this sector if supported well can help to kick start the economy-it can help to solve the 2 million jobs that the nation was promised in 2013. We hope to see policies that support High Growth  SMEs which can compete on the international market.

Implication for our members

We created digital platforms to help entrepreneurs with access to information and resources. A record breaking 450 free articles over a 12 month period. Our articles help entrepreneurs with access to information on available opportunities in Zimbabwe and beyond. We linked the website platform to our Face book platform where business discussions help members to access free business information. The website and the Face book are also linked to the Whatsapp platform where business discussions go on every minute. The digital platforms enable more than 32,000 members to be well informed on business opportunities in the region.

We also provide our members with a resource centre at our regional offices located at Number 34  Quendon Road in Monavale, Harare. Members are free to walk in and access resources for free.

All of our programmes were designed with the future in mind, we designed them in preparation for the historical events that took place over the past week . We anticipated positive change, we did not know when it was going to come but ensured that our members had the skills to identify opportunities; our members were prepared for investment opportunities. We therefore welcome the positive developments in the country and look forward to our members being at the forefront of the economic development in the New Zimbabwe.

Registered members should expect refined information dissemination through our online newsletters. We hope to conduct workshops and bootcamps on taking advantage of opportunities to be ushered by the latest developments. If you miss out this time, then you have missed it for a life time…

And the last word

Economic turnaround is not going to happen overnight, it is going to take a lot of hard work by everyone from farmers in Dotito, Miners in Dorowa, Farm workers in Braamfontein, Accountants in London, Nurses in Washington DC…we all should work hard in order to make Zimbabwe the ‘Jewel of Africa’ once more and Yes its possible!

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