What is true indigenisation? Vince Musewe

via What is true indigenisation? | The Zimbabwean by Vince Musewe

The policies of Zanu (PF), to indigenise, empower, employ and develop, cannot be argued against because Africa must rise by its own sweat if we are to say we are truly independent. Our continued reliance on foreign capital and aid makes us subject to the whims of those who may assist us or provide investment capital for us. Africans must determine their own destinies and not be too dependent on foreign capital or influence.

Sadly, more than 50 years after Independence came to Africa, the continent has failed wean itself from its dependence on other people’s money. This leaves us, the new generation, vulnerable and unable to be captains of our destiny as intended by our fore-fathers, especially those who perished defending Africa’s right to self-determination and prosperity. We remain consumers of imported products.

I have argued in the past that we all need to support the economic emancipation of the African; he must own and competitively manage his resources.

There is therefore no argument that Zimbabweans must own and manage their economy. What we need to do is to build on indigenisation with the singular focus and energy underpinned by utmost integrity, equity and fairness so that we can create a new, inclusive, economic order in Zimbabwe.

We need to look at African leaders who came before us and avoid their mistakes, for most of them came and went without achieving the sustainable indigenisation of their economies. If they had been honest and done what they professed was necessary, Africa would not be where it is today.

The first principle we must appreciate is that not every black African wants to own an enterprise and there is nothing wrong with that. We have different talents and inclinations and appetite for risk. Indigenisation must therefore not be forced down our throats. It must remain a personal choice we make. Some of us are good managers, some are good technicians, some are good workers and some are good owners. The choices we make must be left to the market and our own ambition. The government must remain a facilitator of the process and not referee or king maker.

The second issue we must accept is that nothing is for nothing – meaning that indigenisation must happen through sound commercial transactions. This means that we must attract new investment. The success of this process is not divorced to creating an attractive environment for foreign investment – since we do not have our own savings to invest.

With regard to the resource sector, the state is by law the custodian of our mineral wealth. That is agreed. But it is not the owner. The people of Zimbabwe are the owners and therefore must be the beneficiaries. Any model adopted by Zanu (PF) must pass this test. We cannot have a situation where you have to support Zanu (PF) in order to benefit. To date, with regard to diamonds, we have seen how once the state assumes sole ownership, corruption, selfishness and patronage creep in. To me this is a vital issue that can derail indigenisation.

Third, the process of indigenising Zimbabwe must not destroy wealth or value. It must be a process that builds on, or adds value, to what we already have.

This means that indigenised entities must be better off and must create more wealth and opportunity. We failed this test dismally in agriculture because of entitlement and greed, we dare not repeat it. If we do, we are bound to own empty factories that are not productive.

Fourth, the process must be aligned to our national priorities of fighting poverty, creating wealth and employment opportunities.

This means reviving industry must be our primary focus now. Indigenisation is therefore important but not urgent.

For indigenization to be sustainable and beneficial to all of us, we must ask the following questions: Does it create more wealth or opportunity for our people and the country? Is it fair and equitable to all involved? Does it make commercial or economic sense? Does it encourage entrepreneurship and investment? Is it in line with our national priorities?

As President, these are the four questions I would insist to be answered in the affirmative in every indigenous transaction.

You see we are an educated lot, so let us demonstrate that intelligence but applying it. There is so much wealth to share in Zimbabwe and every Zimbabwean must be invited to the party.

We cannot let the army, the police, the intelligence services or Zanu (PF) family and friends be the sole beneficiaries. In fact the President must not let that happen otherwise history will judge him harshly as is the case with most past African leaders who said much, but achieved little. – Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. You can contact him at vtmusewe@gmail.com

 

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31 comments on “What is true indigenisation? Vince Musewe
  1. Nyoni says:

    While I tend to agree with your opinion Vince, when you say every Zimbabwean must benefit from the Indeginisation process in our country, I hope you mean all Zimbabweans. I dont know how old you are but to make you aware many companies after 1980 were directed to “affirmative”action by this regime. Jobs were given or taken by Zanu croonies and more. So to be direct Indeginisation began a while ago albiet another name. Zanus tricks have come full circle again showing they have no more ideas left. Lets get real Vince and ask what is Zanu up to.

  2. Fallenz says:

    Reasonable thoughts… but getting those in positions of making application has already proven to be a problem. When they see possibilities of wealth, and avenues to put that wealth in their own pockets, what have they done?

    I will point out this… foreign investors, individuals and consortiums that make their money through international investments, have little to no concern regarding politics. Their interest is in making money through the investments they make. Their concern with Zimbabwe is the safety of their money and assets, security of viable supply lines, and stability of markets.

    They really don’t care that the government is illegitimate, as long as it is stable. They don’t care that the government is politicizing the distribution of food aid and agri inputs. They do care about forced indigenization and the possibilities of unwelcome nationalization of companies and entire industries. They care about tax rates and infrastructure. They care about a government honoring its commitments, and paying its own levies… with an understanding of its responsibility to support private industry.

    The things investors do care about, they do not find in Zim… and what they fear, they find in abundance. The nation was given opportunity to prove itself, but has failed the test miserably with the new, disastrous policies and the rape of the nation’s economy. Much has to change for foreign investors to return… but, once those changes are in place, Zim will be inundated with investors seeking investment possibilities… and the economy will explode with growth, and mass jobs for a hungry, eager workforce.

  3. Canuck says:

    Fallenz is right on the money !!!!
    Like it or not, Zim exists in a global investment environment and must compete in same.
    If the environment is not fair, secure, lawful, free of corruption, providing a decent risk adjusted return, then investment funds will not be forthcoming .
    And who can honestly say that these conditions exist in the ZANU ruled Zimbabwe?
    Unless there is SIGNIFICANT change then Zim has zero chance in the global investment world.

  4. Richard says:

    The truth is that, “indigenisation” is about the taking from the rich whites and giving to the poor black syndrome. Black empowerment, affirmative action are just different systems put in place to achieve such ideals. We all understand economics and where wealth lies, but it’s the ugly face of racist policies that drive this government. Its just plain theft, simple.

  5. John Thomas says:

    Musewe has laid it out. He does not disagree with ZANU policy, only the method.

  6. Nzou says:

    Whilst what Vince is saying may make perfect sense, it is never going to happen.

    Indigenisation in Zimbabwe is being used as a political tool to retain power. Like the land invasions, which in reality has embedded starvation, the current method of indigenisation being used in Zimbabwe will further impoverish the masses.

    700 Enterprises were shut down during the last six months 2013. The situation on the ground is full of fear and confusion.

    ZanuPF’s objective is power retention. Prosperity and economic considerations do not count in their equation. It’s all about power and power retention.

    So in the whole scheme of things, this article is merely an academic exercise and whilst it makes sense in a civilized world, it will never happen in a Zimbabwe ruled by ZanuPF.

    My best advice to people like Vince is that unless they put their energies and singular focus on building structures to oust this illegitimate regime, Zimbabwe will remain in the poverty trap and the country continue moving towards becoming the North Korea of Africa.

  7. Masvukupete says:

    The money that ZBC has lost in the past 5 years:

    CEO $50’000×60 months=$3million

    5 Executives at a salary of $25’000x60months=$7.5million
    3 managers each at a salary of $10’000x60months=$9million
    Operations say $400’000x60months=$24million
    Other salaries it was reported $1.6million for workers per month x 50 months =$80million

    Total $120million
    Revenue $275’000×60 months $16.5million

    Result loss of $100million over the last 5 years.

    If we have 20 parastatals with such a mess that means $2 billion in 5 years.

    If we can waste money in such a way why do we cry for foreign investments. Using the model above it means we are wasting $400million a year on parastatals.

    From 2008 to 2010, Ziscosteel could have been fully financed (needs $750 million)

    From 2010 to present we could have raised $1.2billion for the platinum refinery and within another 3 years 2016 the full $3billion for the refinery would have been available.

    Furthermore, in most economies (and Zimbabwe cannot be an exception) 10% of the population owns 80% of the wealth. If that 10% of the population deposited their gotten wealth in local banks, we would not need any IMF intervention, we would be using that money for our own development. Presently those funds are being used in countries where they are deposited Switzerland, England, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Mauritius etc.

    Although the model above is oversimplified I believe we have the funds to finance our development requirements but we do not know how to manage them. Waste, Waste Waste.

  8. Mena Bona says:

    A great article written by a forward thinking responsible Zimbabwean. One of the biggest challenges in Zimbabwe is that ZANU PF have surrendered large chunks of the countries vital industries, into the hands of the Chinese. This for no other reason, unfortunately, than political survival regardless of the consequences. The Chinese are raping Africa, as anyone with eyes to see must realize, and what they have control of they never relinquish. They intend Africa to be an extension of China and Mugabe and his cohorts are handing it over. Time to put a stop to this before we reach the point of no return, if we are not already there.

    • Nzou says:

      It comes as no accident that the Chinese are exempt from indigensation and have been deemed de facto indigeous by ZanuPF.

  9. soko says:

    Great ideas, good philosophy. Implementation is something else….let’s hope its not some kind of economic racism

  10. NBS says:

    Good article! Good forum debate following. We desperately need unity of purpose. As for me as a Christian I see past just the physical and I will fight much of this battle on my knees being pro active as well: not taking from my nation but giving instead. Not bowing to the sinful and corrupt ways and adding to our ‘curse’ but standing for what is right. No repentance! No restoration! And it is time we said Zvakwana! Zvakwana! to evil and unfair practice, corruption, greed and patronage.

  11. Nyoni says:

    NBS WELL PUT .WELL PUT.

  12. Curious says:

    Let me ask a question: Three people are born in 1960, an American, a Malawian and a Zimbabwean (or Rhodesian as they would have been then). In 1985, the American and Malawian immigrate to the new Zimbabwe.

    All three of these individuals have children who are Zimbabwean Citizens by birth.

    These children all grow up in Zimbabwe and become respectively a Baker, Shop owner and a Farmer.

    Now, are these people “Indigenous”? Should they be allowed to own their businesses, employ people, create wealth?

    If they are white then the governement would answer NO! They would have you beleive that a person’s rights to own these businesses depend on the colour of their skin and nothing more.

    Say the children of the American and Malawian are black, but the child of the Zimbabwean was white. The Zimbabwean’s family may even have been in the country for 4 or 5 generations, yet they would be considered less “indigenous” than the others.

    We do not ask to be born in a certain country, we do not ask to be a certain colour. We are all Zimbabwean Citizens and should be able to contribute to the future of our country.

    This article accepts unquestioningly the right of black Zimbabweans to dispossess white Zimbabweans of their assets. Hopefully this example exposes the shallowness of this prejudice.

  13. pdf says:

    Vince

    By and large a good article re indigenization , however you forgot one very important issue , in fact the fundamental issue, the issue that has caused the downfall of the whole economy and the misery that Zimbabwe finds itself in at this very moment ….racism…..plain unadulterated RACISM ……and you don’t address that at all.

    The fact is that ZANU PF used and continues to use racism as its card to draw the focus away from itself and provide a scapegoat to its own inadequacies and poor track record.

    It started with the commercial farmers …easy target only 4000 odd of “them” ( so many commentators have said they disagree ONLY with the METHOD of the land redistribution exercise and not the concept….stealing is stealing , as you know over 80 % of all farms were bought and sold with Zimbabwean government certificate of no present interest.) Then it blamed the MDC of being puppets of the white man , and the west and ….whoever else it could find.
    Now foreign businesses….also easy….not so many of “them”

    I guarantee you that if indigenization included anyone who is a ZIMBABWEAN ( born , bred , naturalized …..any form) you would not have the same issue that you have today . Indigenization makes the claim ( indirectly) that because I am white , I don’t care about Zimbabwe !!!!!!!!!!!! , that only if you are BLACK do you have a real deep down concern for Zim and therefore will have the RIGHT to participate in its riches ……..ABSOLUTE RUBBISH !! , in fact very much the opposite, as confirmed by your own comments a few weeks ago when you discussed company bosses not paying their workers until after they had enjoyed their own Christmas break.
    You also make the mistake of assuming that someone will not want something if offered it for nothing. Offer anyone a farm ….for nothing….and he will take it , the evidence is clear. The reticence of the very early uptake from the average Zimbabwean was based on the concern that the law would turn on them if they took something that didn’t belong to them ,only when the law demonstrated that it would in fact assist them to take land did just about everyone jump in , including the full spectrum of politicians and legal fraternity and everyone else for that matter.

    Vince , until this issue of racism is removed from Zim , it will not work , the only investment you will find into Zim , will be rape and pillage type economics with excessive return on investment and ZERO sustainable investment into the people, economy and future. We can always go back and blame and white colonialists and then the greedy white farmer, and then the neo colonialist white foreigner. And as a result Zim will always be poor. We need to model ourselves on the best example in the world ….Hong Kong the richest most successful state in the world. The only government that has a net operating profit….because it leaves its citizens alone to do business,( and has a fixed 15% tax rate ) and the market to determine who survives and who doesn’t. If you survive it is only because what you are doing is supported by the market , if you fail it is because what you are doing is not supported by the market.

    I am disappointed that you don’t deal with this issue.

    • Fallenz says:

      PDF, Mr Musewe has well-addressed the extreme racism of Mugabe and ZANUPF in past articles. While I’ve not read ever article, the one’s I’ve read are reasoned thoughts of a man able to articulate insights in reality.

    • adalandoinda says:

      PDF
      In any system that needs readjustment, there will be beneficiaries and the disenfranchised.
      Vince has tried to keep the racial argument out of it because this is dealt with under the struggle for independence.
      Why did white people not offer the land and participate as partners 100 years ago?
      Now it is our turn to do the right thing and INVITE white people to participate in the economy as junior partners in Zimbabwe’s vast resources.
      If you are not happy with THAT you will probably have to come to Europe.
      DO NOT TAKE THIS PERSONALLY, THIS IS HOW THE INDIGENISATION IS GOING TO WORK.

      • Curious says:

        But I am not the person who appropriated someones land 100 years ago, and you are not the person whose land was appropriated (unless you are really old). We are both Zimbabwean citizens full stop.

        Can you tell me which of my hypothetical characters should be allowed to own a business in Zimbabwe? And can you then tell me why it is not racist to make this discrimination?

    • adalandoinda says:

      PDF
      In any system that needs readjustment, there will be beneficiaries and the disenfranchised.
      Vince has tried to keep the racial argument out of it because this is dealt with under the struggle for independence.
      Why did white people not invite the indigenous people to participate as partners in development 100 years ago?
      Now it is our turn to do the right thing and INVITE ALL people (caucasian,middle eastern,asian,aborigini,etc)to participate in the economy as junior partners to Zimbabwe’s vast resources.
      DO NOT TAKE THIS PERSONALLY, THIS IS HOW THE INDIGENISATION IS GOING TO WORK.

      • Mpunzi says:

        30 years after independence? You have got to be joking. It amounts to looting because the beneficiaries will form part of the ever growing Zanu patriarchal system. There is no excuse for this sort of thing to take place 30 years after independence. No wonder investment has dried up and the economy is in nose dive.

        While we are on the subject, how come Chinese are exempt? They are not disadvantaged. They are not at risk oh starving like 2.2 million Zimbabweans are right now thanks to Zanu’s destruction of food security.

        Zimbabwe is in crisis and it is going to implode.

  14. Despite all the references to the past and cross references to the present and its direct and indirect side effects to the future of Zimbabwe’s economy, is an interesting juxtaposition of pseudo-realities that most are discussing here. Not one economist in Zimbabwe today or even in the past have looked at the solutions with a totally creative and unique manner instead have been caught in the fad and the rut of “borrowing” instead of “creating” the economic developments. If one looks around the globe and try to find the capital needed for Zimbabwe’s future, one would be shocked to learn that hundreds of billions of dollars are waiting to be tapped from the private sectors of the world investors pools instead looking at political enslavement institutions like the IMF, World Bank, European Union CB’s etc. What Zimbabwe needs a few daring financial wizards to look where the money is available but most of them are looking in the wrong direction that has nothing but hot barren and dry desolate wind. There are a few geniuses who can formulate a hard-core hands-on practical plan of actions to raise money without the government’s hands instead create a people-to-people direct trading, investment activities, non-institutional financial activities like small to medium size partnerships between the Zimbabweans and the foreign investors without complicate red tape of nonsense. I know for fact as I have spent weeks with the Wall Street investment brokers who have clients wanting to invest directly in Zimbabwe but are hesitant because there’s not one single entity that exists in Zimbabwe or outside of it to lay out a road map for these small to medium size investors of how to become direct partners with the small to medium size businessmen and women of Zimbabwe. Corruption of the government agencies and its personnel must be monitored and discouraged for the foreign investors to deal directly with those wanting to do business with each other. One can come to America or Canada and accomplish setting up companies without even visiting one government office and do all on-line instantly such as registering companies, obtaining business licenses, opening bank accounts, etc. etc. I’ve experienced the bureaucratic nightmare that one has to go through in starting a partnership or a business in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe must break away from the shackles of slavery of the past and forge new highly progressive methods of government and people cooperation and speed up the process of setting up and operating businesses. There will always be a learning curves and corrections must be made in the midway of such collaborations between the foreign investors and the local Zimbabwean people but the government agencies must minimize their unnecessary snooping and dictatorial attitudes and relax great many laws and practices of international trade and commerce. Billions of dollars can be poured into Zimbabwe’s indigenous economy but only if the government relaxes its muscle and becomes more user-friendly and less over-seeing and controlling. Every government in the world has its own built-in corrupt elements but its the middle class trade and commerce and its ever growing energy that makes their economies churning millions and billions of dollars of trade and commerce without much of interference by such corrupt elements. Zimbabwe must carve a new highway of international trade and commerce relationship unlike anything that exists today in Africa. With Zimbabwe’s incredible amount of buried wealth under its land which is so immense that the world will be breaking doors to get into Zimbabwe once it embarks on a totally unique and untraditional march of new trade and commerce between those wanting to do business in Zimbabwe. Unless radically new economic modalities are planned and enacted, Zimbabwe’s enemies will sit in comfort in far away places and see Zimbabwe continue falling into this abyss of unknown depths of economic uncertainties. God bless Zimbabwe and its struggling great people!

    • Curious says:

      Foreign Investors will not bring in their billions while there is no respect for property rights. If investors are not assured that they will retain ownership of the assets they invest in, then they will not put their money at risk.

  15. Uncle says:

    The surplier is God so why do u still think a nation will need other nations to survive that is were the decieving spirit of the devil brought thru education is managing to keep its wings overshadowing all the pple ‘s minds ,Zimbabwe ‘s solution is in the holy book of God if as a country Zimbabwe can take THREE DRY fasting days including all living things ,the third day God will make ur story properious

  16. Uncle says:

    Stop being fooled by the agents of Satan ,there is nothing to fear asa far as Zimbabwe’s case is right now If pple could understand the world of God all will be comforted and know hw to control situations there is no solution in the western countries ,if a man speaks a word all things are bound to change ,Jeremiah the prophet of God said earth earth ,earth right this man barren ,didnt it come that way ,if everyone prays every day for our nations Zimbabwe is the best in World,lets call unto the Lord ,our country is rich in Jesus name

  17. Richard says:

    Adalandoinda you say Vince wants to keep the mention of race out of the arguement! Why? Because you’er black you obviously don’t feel its racist to indigenise. You say the whites should have shared the land a 100 years ago! Well lets look at this question. When the whites arrived there were no schools, hospitals, in fact no infrastructure etc and also no written language. It was the whites who introduced maize to Africa (your so called traditional meal) wrote your language and educated the population in everything. I can go on. Even the comrades in Rhodesian jails during the liberation struggle walked out with degrees. You think anyone in Zimbabwean jails could do that now? And you say whites have never shared anything. Remember knowledge is power. Whites it appears have served their purpose. Are whites going to be blamed for everything in a hundred years time? The way blacks think, I’m sure they will. And you say it’s not about race!!

  18. enoughsaid.com says:

    Curious well said. To add to your wisdom. A white guy is born 30 years ago, at the same time as a black. Now the white guy has to work hard to get anywhere in life because he is the wrong colour in a black country. Now the black guy could sit on his arse, and do nothing, then has the right to take the business from the white guy who has worked hard his whole life! And that’s okay! Just wondering.

    • Curious (now confused) says:

      To be clear though, I think the issue of resource distribution is a very complex one.

      Imagine I was a Farmer (which I was), and the land I owned was acquired violently and in a way that was clearly contrary to the laws of the country (which it was), and then 20 years hence, the perpetrators pass this land to their heirs.

      Would my children feel a grudge towards these new owners? Maybe, yet the new owners have nothing to do with the original injustice.

      I think this is exactly the position many Black Zimabweans found themselves in – frustrated that the people who appropriated the land in the first place got away with it, by handing down an unfair system of land-ownership that they had never consented to. And the same applies to the ownership of mineral wealth, or businesses.

      So I accept that there needs to be a Reckoning. But this policy seeks to empower a (somewhat arbitrary) group, by attacking another (somewhat arbitrary) group.

      The non-indigenous people it attacks are NOT the people who showed up here 100 years ago and took the land. And to benefit from this policy you need only be black – no matter how much wealth you have accumulated.

      Instead we are all just people who have entered Zimbabwe at one time or another and lived and worked and earned money under the laws of the land as we found them. The system handed down may be unfair, but the way to fix that is to make it fair, not by enacting racist policies that perpetuate the wrongs of the past.

      • Fallenz says:

        To toss another angle into the mix, when the current leaders pass from this life, and their innocent children and grandchildren inherit those assets and bank accounts, all stolen by their greedy, dishonest, corrupt ancestors, is that inheritance then “clean” and rightfully owned by those to whom it is passed, or do the victims have some right to reclaim it? How about after they use that wealth to legally create their own by hard work and excellent investment ventures and solid business decisions?

        Can become a very complex question, with no answers to satisfy everyone. (Where’s King Solomon when ya need him?) However, when racism (colour of skin) is used to determine right and wrong, or nationality, or property rights, that is indefensible and immoral. Period.

        I ask this question of the racists among us… are the black folk who occupy EU and US to have the property they worked for, paid for, and rightfully own taken from them and given to others because of the colour? Would it matter to you where they were born, or how many generations had lived in that country? Would you not be incensed, scream “RACISM”, and demand intervention at such an illegal and immoral action? I would stand with you and scream as loud… now, tell me how the circumstance in Zim is somehow different.

  19. John Thomas says:

    If you have read all the comments above I think there is now some perspective.

  20. Fallenz says:

    To toss another angle into the mix, when the current leaders pass from this life, and their innocent children and grandchildren inherit those assets and bank accounts, all stolen by their greedy, dishonest, corrupt ancestors, is that inheritance then “clean” and rightfully owned by those to whom it is passed, or do the victims have some right to reclaim it? How about after they use that wealth to legally create their own by hard work and excellent investment ventures and solid business decisions?

    Can become a very complex question, with no answers to satisfy everyone. (Where’s King Solomon when ya need him?) However, when racism (colour of skin) is used to determine right and wrong, or nationality, or property rights, that is indefensible and immoral. Period.

    I ask this question of the racists among us… are the black folk who occupy EU and US to have the property they worked for, paid for, and rightfully own taken from them and given to others because of the colour? Would it matter to you where they were born, or how many generations had lived in that country? Would you not be incensed, scream “RACISM”, and demand intervention at such an illegal and immoral action? I would stand with you and scream as loud… now, tell me how the circumstance in Zim is somehow different.

  21. Curious says:

    I almost agree.

    Whilst race is no basis for policy, there must be an acknowledgment that black Zimbabweans did not consent to the system of asset ownership that was put in place pre independence.

    The fact that we are now several generations of transactions through this system, with assets being passed down as inheritance or bought and sold does not wash away the original injustice.
    It just complicates restitution.

    The situation today is a mirror image of the past – and in twenty years time we will be going over the same old ground.

    Can’t we do better than this? Property rights, progressive taxation, separation of powers, rule of law – these are the obvious answers to Zimbabwe problems. Not clinging to some ancient hatred.

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