NINE things we picked up from ED’s speech at #RoadToDavosZW

The Zimbabwe Business Club hosted a summit on Thursday at Meikles Hotel in Harare under the theme Our Gateway to Zimbabwe Investments.

Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mangagwa was part of a high powered audience which included his vice presidents, ministers, captains of industry and other dignitaries.

Mnangagwa is set to make his maiden appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland set for 23 to 26 January 2018. Zimbabwe received an official invitation.

He gave a 40 minute speech and these are the key things we gleaned from it:

  1. Zimbabwe is open for business. He added, “What that means to each one of us may be different but at the end of the day, Zimbabwe is open for business”. He added that government, capital and labour must work with each other and know that Zimbabwe is open for business, working to ensure it remains so.
  2. Policy and legislatiion alignment: The ministry of justice is seized with the issues.
  3. Foreign currency and price distortion issues. There must a collective solution to this. We must say, “These challenges are ours and how from my sector can I contribute to fixing these issues”.
  4. International re-engagement: Mnangagwa says he has ordered the ratification of all international treaties. He added that Zimbabwe is open to new international relations. “We shall keep our old friends but we are open to those who were hostile to us”.
  5. Dealing with criticism: Criticism is welcome but solutions also needed. See weaknesses in government and how they can be dealt with. An engaged government will also ask private sector what it can do to make sure businesses can function. A move away from them and us mentality.
  6. Public sector reform: Mnangagwa says solutions around this need to be well thought out. Decisions on which will be commercialised, recapitalised or closed take time. It is academically correct for timelines to be there. “Most of you think that in the last six weeks, we should have resolved that which had not been done in 37 years. I take it that you have a lot of faith in us and I welcome it”
  7. Diaspora: He says he has met diasporans who have an enthusiasm to take part in the Zimbabwean economy. Mentioned a group of young South Africans who put up a fund of USD400 million and will recapitalise the National Railways of Zimbabwe. He encouraged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to take part in the economy. “Look for opportunities in Zimbabwe and find where you can fit and we will support you.”
  8. Special economic zones: Mnangagwa suggested that economic zones be created around resources, eg, where steel is rather than based on geography.
  9. 100 days: Government will publish to the nation at the end of 100 days what it has achieved and what it has failed to do. Also said use of ICT solutions has allowed him to keep track of what his ministries are up to.

Mnangagwa also launched an Investment Guidelines and Opportunities Zimbabwe brochure.

Among panelists were Steward Bank CEO Dr Lance Mambondiani, author and lawyer Petina Gappah, EcoCash’s Natalie Jabangwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Sifelani Jabangwe among others.

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