The Zim-SA Forum held its grand meet and greet event on the 29th of October 2016 at Ambrosia Hall Glen Austin in Midrand under the theme Disruptive Investment and Revolutionizing Business.
The glamourous event was graced by high level esteemed delegation i.e. Honourable Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, Honourable Ambassador Mr Isaac Moyo, Deputy Ambassador Mr T Muranga, Dr D. Sibanda Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Mr Nyabadza (ARDA) chairman, Mr Jabangwe (CZI).
Other speakers that came for the day include Mr Tommy Deuschle, Mr Brian Dlamini, and Mr Mabobo from the National Youth Development Agency of South Africa and many members of the diplomatic mission in South Africa.
The black-tie event was also attended by a slew of dignitaries and respected businessmen and women from both Zimbabwe and South Africa among which includes business mogul Mutumwa Mawere and members of the ZimSA forum and friends of the forum. The programme was directed by the forum’s phenomenal women in the name of Ms Yvonne Katsande (Vice President of ZimSA forum) and Ms Lilian Bususu a member of the business community in South Africa.
United in patriotism, ZimSA forum provides a unique platform for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to contribute towards national economic recovery trajectory, poverty eradication, and empowerment of Zimbabwean citizens in the diaspora since its establishment in August 2016.
The highly esteemed leadership of the forum is dedicated to bring to fruition the vision of the forum. Hardly 6 months since the inception of the forum a lot has taken place behind the scenes to ensure the forum bears fruits. In his opening remarks the president of the forum Mr. Anele Ndlovu underscored the purpose of the forum, “Our purpose is to build self-esteem, self-efficacy and hope among Zimbabweans; while we incubate successful investment opportunities both in South Africa and Zimbabwe with an economic recovery blueprint”.
The honourable ambassador officially introduced the vice president of the republic of Zimbabwe. The honourable VP Mr E Mnangagwa expressed his gratitude to the initiative of the ZimSA Forum which strives to bring an economic recovery blue print irrespective of differing political persuasion. He emphasised the need for a platform to dialogue and discuss pertinent sectors of the economy which can drive the required vision of the Zimbabwe we all want. Indeed, the ZimSA forum provides such a unique platform for dialogue harnessing on the relevant technical expertise that is in the diaspora. Among several examples the vice president made reference to strides made in the agricultural sector with ARDA making progressive achievements and recovery which is anticipated to continue rising.
Mr Nyabadza emphasised the need to cross pollinate ideas between the diaspora and the leadership back home in Zimbabwe. He equally marvelled and commented the rate at which ZimSA forum is driving its vision and pledged to commit towards this shared common vision, in his own words he said “The forum is running a marathon and we want to be with you in this marathon”. In his message he pointed the possibility of creating investment fund by the diasporas to help build an economic recovery and to promote money circulating within the SADC region. He made reference to a German company that has recently invested over $50 million towards farming, and thus challenged the diasporas to follow suit, regain confidence and play a pivotal role in economic recovery while grabbing opportunities available in Zimbabwe.
Central to CZI presentation was the drive for opportunities in resuscitating the industries in Zimbabwe. An array of opportunities particularly in the infrastructure sector championed by ZIMASSET, road, and rail opportunities. Food security, value addition and beneficiation were some of the areas pointed out. Enterprising is promoted now through special economic zones. Zeroing on the demographics of the nation the approach is now market led approach creating opportunities for investment. CZI looks forward to collaboration between CZI and the ZimSA Forum taping on the opportunities that cut across a plethora of value chains and the development partners. Mr Tarinda from the reserve bank of Zimbabwe touched on the financial situation in Zimbabwe and clarified the scepticism around the introduction of bond notes.
The permanent secretary Dr Sibanda sealed the guest speeches by challenging business people from the ZimSA forum to come to Zimbabwe, and tap onto the opportunities that are available. Central to his remarks was an indication that the country is at cross roads demanding a proper reflection on a plethora of variables among which includes the need to increase its GDP, reduce national deficit, build investment confidence, and increase remittances. A point in reference he described the Ethiopian diasporas contribution to nation building through a number of projects in the country.
Diaspora Engagement Affairs General Directorate, the former Ethiopian Expatriate Affairs General Directorate, was established in January 2002 within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the mission of working closely with Ethiopian Diaspora and facilitating their activities in Ethiopia. Its aim is to ensure that Diaspora issues are considered in the nation building process. Indeed, this has beard fruits in Ethiopia’s economic development.
Central to other speakers of the day were messages on role of gender with specific reference to women in business by Ms Louisa Samson, Youth collaboration and synergy in doing business by Tommy Deusche, Mr Mabobo from Youth Development Agency and the role of data in building business by Dumisani Sibanda. Mr Godfrey Fungurani provided insights on investment opportunities from the diaspora perspective.
I had the opportunity to provide the vote of thanks as the secretary general of the ZimSA forum. In deed the event was highly informative and encouraging to the diasporas providing confidence and a positive look to the future we all want. As i reflect on the forum’s journey this far I look at the past with gratitude, present with admiration and future with hope. I believe the 29th of October event was just a glimpse of what ZimSA forum can do and contribute to transform and bring the tomorrow we all want. Watch the space more is on the way. I call upon all business people in the Diaspora to join hands lest we move together as a front for the betterment of our future.
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Dr Shingirirai S Mutanga
Secretary General ZimSA Forum