via Let’s utilise diasporan skills | The Herald May 12, 2014 by Vandudzai Zirebwa
A recent analysis by some leading authors on human capital in Africa ranks Zimbabwe among the countries that have the sharpest brains on the continent.
But the report also says the country has failed to take advantage of the skills in ways that unlock opportunities for itself.
The financial remittances are still largely unaccounted for and little has been done to embark on a full study to create a databank of successful Zimbabweans that have spread themselves around the world and are virtually in every sector that includes, economics, politics and finance.
Where Zimbabwe is able to connect to this resource base the report concludes it can easily solve most of its present challenges.
More often as Zimbabweans, we have tended to believe that our successful persons elsewhere in the world have little interest in reconnecting with their country.
The truth is the opposite.
Many who have sought to engage the Zimbabwean diaspora in leading corporate positions have been amazed by their willingness not only to share their stories but contribute to the rebuilding of their economy.
The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services appears among the few who have sought to venture out and already seems fairly successful at the game.
An analysis of the new ZBC board and even new appointments at The Chronicle and The Sunday Mail indicates that the diaspora is very willing to come home and rebuild the country.
What needs to be done is to spread such a mindset across the Government and private sector to ensure that we collectively focus on working as Team Zimbabwe irrespective of location to win as a country.
We must as a country agree that in five years time at least 10 Zimbabwean brands are among the top fifty on the continent.
For that to happen it requires that local Zimbabweans connect with their diasporan brothers and sisters who have been exposed to global success. Clearly with such a mindset our export position would begin to shift in a positive direction.
The key is that we must begin and believe that we can turn the current problems into opportunities.
The Ministry of Tourism and Minister Walter Mzembi in particular should also be commended for understanding this reality and utilising their position to expose our products and services to different markets.
Just recently Minister Mzembi extended an invitation to partners within Buy Zimbabwe to take advantage of a trip to Angola to open markets in that country.
The Ministry hosted a successful Made in Zimbabwe Cocktail at which top executives in Angola were invited to sample our national products.
Reports coming form that trip suggest Zimbabwean companies who took up the offer are already receiving inquiries from Angolans keen to enter into trade arrangements.
Again indications are that with problems bedevilling us, we have lost sight of opportunities around us.
We need to believe that we can make it around the continent and begin venturing out, exposing our products and surely in no time results will start showing.
If the evangelist John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, could as a young university student at Oxford believe that the world was his parish, then as Zimbabwe we too must believe at the very least that Africa is our playing ground.
Is it not interesting that even in soccer with our very poor ranking which has fallen from the dizzy heights of top ten to blow 20, no team even among the top five on our continent assesses us on the basis of on the basis of our ranking.
The reason is pretty simple.
Our competitors see the quality and potential in us. In fact they generally marvel at how time and time again we fail to utilise the immense depth into actual performance.
In South Africa, year in and year out our players feature in the teams that win the championship.
Most recently no less than four Zimbabweans have shared the glory at Sundowns.
There is really no reason why that success cannot be duplicated in different spheres of our products and services here at home.
Perhaps we have become so complacent and comfortable that we don’t fight hard enough to earn that which God the almighty blessed us with.
Even our church sector is proving the mantle that makes us.
A few years back huge gatherings could only be pulled by leaders from West African nations.
When we watched televangelists we watched only those from Nigeria and Ghana.
Now the likes of Emmanuel Makandiwa and Ubert Angel have their own channels.
Judgement Night is now bringing congregates from across Africa.
Our DNA as a country is strong. The challenge is that it is applied sparingly and with little co-ordination.
Unfortunately as that continues we realise that the gap between actual and potential is too huge. A recent World Economic Forum report put us at number one in potential and close to last on actual.
With investment in education, success of many Zimbabweans globally, surely we must also realise that we have a responsibility to prosper, create jobs, wealth and be known for having the least levels of poverty in Africa.
At 34 years of national independence we must turn the corner. Till we meet again, God Bless.
Feedback: cell, 00263773751878 Email Vandudzai@buyzimbabwe.org.zw