Have you ever wondered why investors are interested in Zimbabwe? What is is that they see that you may not be aware of? In this article, we let you wear an investor mindset and analyse how investors view opportunities in Zimbabwe.

A look at the industrialization development key stages

First Industrial Revolution
Introduction of mechanical production processes with the help of water and steam. First stage introduced in 1784.

Second Industrial Revolution
Characterised by division of labour and mass production aided by electricity. Second stage introduced in 1900.

Third Industrial Revolution
Characterized by introduction of electronic and IT systems(automation). Third stage introduced in 1969.

Fourth Industrial Revolution
Involve the use of cyber physical systems (Robots). This is the status today and for the future.

Where does Zim stand?
With 70% of the population staying in rural areas and using traditional ploughs, scotch carts and hoes for tilling land…we have a lot of our activities anchored in stage one! A few farms are on stage two. Our manufacturing industries are a mixture of Second and Third Revolution. Our economy is more than 70% informal and you have examples of Siyaso’s, Gazaland, Glenview furniture still struggling in the Second Revolution. The conclusion is our manufacturing systems are still in the second stage.

The good news
The good news is we have a lot of personnel with experience in the 3rd revolution, some have been to the diaspora, some working locally for multinational companies. We can leverage on this human capital to develop the country and leapfrog from the second and third stage industrialization stages to the fourth.

The showing of interest by foreign companies in Zimbabwe means they are going to do one thing….bring latest world technology that will pull our systems to world class standards.

We also need incentives to pull our diaspora communities to come back and plug the gaps in industrialization.

The SME sector needs incentives for linkages with established big companies so that it can also automate some of its operations through linkages.

The education system needs an overhaul so that it produces graduates with skills to pull up the country from the first and second industrial stages to the third and fourth industrialization stages.

Opportunities for investors
Does it now make sense why Zimbabwe is a rich investment destination? Movement from one industrial stage to the next brings opportunities.Remember our opportunities identification toolkit that says New Technology = New Opportunities!

We will need a lot of catching up, building new dams, construction of roads, new infrastructure, upgrading of communication systems. Mechanisation of farming and mining operations….the list is endless.Does it now make sense to you why Strive Masiyiwa is investing $250 million in a solar project?

Small business opportunities: Some of the major reconstruction will involve big companies with big pockets and you are only going to get crumbs if you ever consider eyeing them. You can focus on ‘tools’ of industrialization such as:

1. Hardware shops.
2. Construction companies.
3. ICT companies.
4. Consultancy companies.
5. Digital marketing|Graphic Designing| Websites development|Crypto Currencies.
6. Consumer products for a population moving through the industrial stages (changes in tastes)
7. Colleges introducing 3rd and 4th industrialisation skills.

Can a diasporan expect new opportunities in UK or Europe? There are very few new opportunities because these countries are the pioneers of technology. You cannot expect to set up a shop in London that sells ICT products and enjoy massive business expansion. The market is saturated with established brands with some shops having more than 40 years experience.

So where can the person make money? Simple….in emerging markets of which Zimbabwe is part of. Allow the Zimbabwe Business Ideas and Network to call them the ‘Industrialization Opportunities’. These are the opportunities investors are interested in!

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