Let’s utilise diasporan skills | The Herald

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



  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    Vandudzai,it seems your heart is in the right place,yes Zimbabweans should like to come back and be part of the march towards prosperity . The questions is does ZANU like your idea? The answer is no. They are not willing to put in reforms that guarantee freedom,security, peace ,law and oder because these undermine their perceived power over the populace.
    After the fraudulent elections, the flight of capital was spear headed by ZANU itself. They did not have confidence in their own capability to manage the country. Would that give confidence to the Diasporan or international investors?
    ZANU has short itself in the foot. Only thieves and fools will deal with it,as evidenced in the Dubai diamond sale. Bob and company went there with the stones and came back with nothing. And no one has been fired.
    The ball is in Zanu’s court.
    They have 2 options which they cannot swallow,,,,, reform or resign.

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    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    ZANU will anly value the Diaspora as a cow to milk. Loot as much as you can from the gullible .The Homelink venture is still fresh in a lot of people’s minds. The people want to build but Zanu does not.

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    former farmer ( White ) 9 years ago

    A good article and just what the country needs.

    I would like to come back and participate in rebuilding my country and my farm, but that is not going to happen under current circumstances and without meaningful and binding assurances. Only with these will the confidence be gained to make any reconstruction worth while and lasting.

    It will take a lot more than the return of the “diasporians” before we can effect positive change and turn our country around. We need a complete policy U turn, re-engagement with the west (for debt relief) and restoration of investor confidence ( through a legitimate and accountable government). So in essence we have a long way to go yet.

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    ngungu 9 years ago

    Good article and thoughts. However, that’s never going to happen. Hey, why is Zimbabwe’s top brains Masiyiwa inspiring so many Africans. Not from Zimbabwe but from, SA??? What does that say about the conditions in the country?

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    Gomogranny 9 years ago

    The 1970’S mind set of this government and our politicians remains. Our opposition is only marginally further forward – living in the 1990’s. That is exactly why we have a diaspora containing the most important asset of our country (people not willing to waste their lives listening to rhetoric) – and the diasporeans ARE CERTAINLY NOT REFERRED TO IN THE CURRENT MONOTONOUS CHANT “ZIMASSET ZIMASSET, ZIMASSET”….

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    Nyoni 9 years ago

    The Zimbabwean government must show its willingness to accept the diaspora. To date they have not. To Zanu they are the enemy. What fickleness from unpratriotic people masquerading as representatives of the Zimbabwean people. You Zanu are by your actions showing us and the whole world you are not serious in changing the status quo. If you are show us?

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    matombo chiremba 9 years ago

    Why should the diaspora want to be part of Zimbabwe’s economic resurrection when they are denied a basic right to vote and determine who governs them??? It always goes back to the need to open up the economic and political space through political and economic reforms. We now have a reasonable constitution but the ZPf government will drag its feet in order that the laws of the land will remain aligned to the old constitution. Even the investing public are waiting to see civilization from the ZPF govt before they can invest their money.

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      Don Cox 9 years ago

      The government should repeal POSA and other repressive laws, and then see if people in the diaspora want to talk.

      It will take a while to create any trust. I doubt if ZanuPF can ever do it.

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    Let them vote for the government of their choice then they might be inclined to invest back into Zimbabwe.

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    John Thomas 9 years ago

    This another ideologically bankrupt ZANU Moyo underling trying for a way out. ZANU has broken the country, chased a third of the population out and now they want help from those who they will not even let vote. ZANU must go, then the rebuilding can start. You cannot rebuild while the destroyers still think they rule the roost.

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    jobolinko 9 years ago

    They want your money and skills ,but they never talk about diaspora vote,sure zanu must change thei attitude

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    MR EUROPEAN UNION 9 years ago

    Why the hell would ANY sensible person want to return to that fourth world outost of tyranny?

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    Mlimo 9 years ago

    Well anyone who had a passion for Zimbabwe would want to return. But it needs a decent government with guaranteed right of land tenure and the restoration of stolen lands and businesses. We need to put those who have acted in their own interests in jail and do a complete audit of where the money went and reclaim it where possible. So a new government and a change of police, army and airforce top dogs is in order. Anything is possible under the right conditions.

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    You guys are clueless. You want the diasporan offerings but won’t give them the vote. Wake p!

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    Gandanga 9 years ago

    I am a proud freedom fighter who crossed to Mozambique in 1977 at the age of 16 and came back to Zimbabwe 3 months latter to fight for the liberation of my country from white supremacy and oppression. I don’t regret putting my life on the line for my country, If a need arises for to do it again, l will do so without a flick of an eye. The sad part of my story is l am in diaspora. I never dreamt of leaving my beautiful country, but in 2008 l had to make a move to save my family and extended family from dying of hunger. I was forced to relocate outside Zimbabwe and start a life their. It was tough at first, but now am comfortably settled with all my family. Greediness has overtaken patriotism. People like Mliswa who don’t even how to hold a gun and were never in the firing line are freely looting just because Mutasa is an uncle. Sometimes l feel like we fought for the liberation of only a few connected ones, because the majority of Zimbabweans are still suffering. For me to go back to Zimbabwe, democracy must prevail first.

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    Pakukutu 9 years ago

    @Gandanga I remember some incident in th eearly 90s when some kids were teasing each other and one says’wakafira mahara semuwar vet!’Some war vet heard them was first angry and wanted to prone them, then he broke down and cried. That said we trusted you knew what you wanted a free Zimbabwe to be like but you let us down.

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    adam jones 9 years ago

    The way it works is that first we in the diaspora get to vote along with all other Zimbabweans. Following that election, free of Zanu rigging, we hopefully get a democratic system in place – one that creates a conducive atmosphere to invest in. Only then can not only the diaspora, but also international and local investers return to rebuild. As things stand keep on dreaming. Even Zanu’s ‘all weather friend’ China has developed cold feet.