BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
BUSINESS mogul and founder of the now-defunct Kingdom Bank, Nigel Chanakira, says he has made a lot of mistakes and wrong partnerships along his road to success, but mostly regrets selling his bank to AfrAsia Bank Limited.
Chanakira was the main speaker at the inaugural entrepreneurship expo organised by the Zimbabwe African Entrepreneur Association (ZAEA) in Harare last week.
He told NewsDay Business: “I didn’t have to sell Kingdom, I sold Kingdom to AfrAsia and when I look back in 2020 in hindsight, I should have been smarter even in the way I dealt with that particular incident.
“I should have just down-scaled it and turned it into a micro-finance enterprise or something like that before relaunching it, but there was just so much stress and too many shareholders and too many disputes, I had had enough of the corporate world and my battles are well known.”
Chanakira burst onto Zimbabwe’s financial scene in 1995 with his Kingdom Securities, an asset manager that popularised stockmarket among black Zimbabweans with a programme on local TV called Making Money Make Sense.
In 2013, Chanakira sold Crustmoon Investments (Pvt) Ltd, his family’s investment vehicle’s 30% stake in AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe Limited after failing to capitalise the bank.
The economist said in business, one needs a partner with discretion, adding that if his wife was a board member at Kingdom Bank, maybe she would have warned him about the people he was dealing with.
“I like to look at what Kingdom did, I have won all business awards in Zimbabwe, all of them except Farmer of the Year, Miner of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year, because I wasn’t there, but you name it — Best CEO, Best Bank, Top Director, Top Company on the Stock Exchange, I won all business awards to God’s glory,” he said.
Chanakira said his other mistake was to own aircrafts for fun.
“I have owned aircraft, that is not profitable. It was for fun and it was a good idea. I had six aircraft at one point. Those are mistakes. Why? Because I was just fascinated with aircraft,” he said.
“I ended up swapping those six aircrafts for a couple of cars with a colleague of mine who was passionate about the airline industry. So talk about mistakes, I have them, I have a whole box full of them.”
Also speaking to NewsDay Business on the sidelines of the expo, ZAEA founding president Andrew Hwititi said entrepreneurs are key players in the growth of Zimbabwe’s economy.
“For Zimbabwe to industrialise, our entrepreneurs need government policies that help their firms grow. Infrastructure, unreliable electricity supply and access to finance are some of the most common operating constraints faced by local entrepreneurs,” he said.
“Entrepreneurs must not wait for financial handouts from the government, the way to go is to forge partnerships with various big private sector organisations by coming up with bankable and marketable business plans and innovative projects which seek to address the daily economic challenges in our country.”
The expo, meant to strengthen entrepreneurs’ capacities with focus on the growth of locally-owned business across all sectors, attracted hundreds of businesspersons, emerging entrepreneurs and university students.