Business success in Zimbabwe no longer hinges on political connections

Business success in Zimbabwe no longer hinges on political connections
Published: 18 October 2018 (255 Views)
The Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group, a leading investor in Zimbabwe that won the tender to recapitalise the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) to the tune of $400 million (R5.7 billion), says the days of political patronage for business were a thing of the past under President Emerson Mnangagwa.

DIDG executive chairperson Donovan Chimhandamba told an investment summit in Johannesburg that under the previous administration led by former president Robert Mugabe, political clout was the ingredient for success in business and to get lucrative tenders.

"It was in 2016 when we won the tender, and it was still under the then president Robert Mugabe. At that time you can understand the mindset around state security, assets and trying to move that to the private sector.

Although reforms were saying you need to privatise to remove the pressure on the fiscus and turn around some of these parastatals," Chimhandamba told the gathering attended by potential investors and South African businesses operating in Zimbabwe.

"So we started off with our journey with president Mugabe, went through events in November [and] we continue to progress in the new dispensation under what is called the Second Republic."

He said one of the major differences between the previous administration led by Mugabe, and the current regime led by Mnangagwa was the need to have political connections to secure contracts.

"One of the key lessons we learnt through this process is to appreciate  that Zimbabwe is transitioning from an economy that was centred around political capital and gradually moving to a more balanced political economy. A few years ago if you didn't have strong political connections and you were was a technocrat, like some of us coming from the private sector, your chances of moving through the bureaucracies would be very low," said Chimhandamba.

"In the Second Republic as it is now called, everything seems to be focused on the value proposition of the transaction that who you know. The days of brokers are gone those who walked around with the pictures of the president or the ambassador just to walk people into the room [with the top government official] … those days we are gradually seeing a diminishing requirement of that."

He said previously, one would "struggle just to have a commercial presentation without the usual gatekeepers".

Chimhandamba had a word of advice for South African entities seeking to explore opportunities in Zimbabwe: "When you want to go into Zimbabwe, focus on your value proposition not the connectedness".

DIDG won the $400 million tender to recapitalise and operate the NRZ, in partnership with Transnet of South Africa.

The Zimbabwean government is this week on a charm offensive to woo investors in South Africa with its "Zimbabwe is open for business" summit currently underway in Johannesburg.

Hosted by Zimbabwe's embassy in South Africa, the summit has attracted government officials, diplomats, business people, local and international media and Zimbabweans based in different parts of South Africa.

Zimbabwe's Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, told the gathering that his country was now on a new trajectory of economic development and equal opportunity.

"Zimbabwe is a rich and enchantingly beautiful country blessed with welcoming, friendly, hardworking, highly skilled, resourceful and resilient people. Currently, the news about Zimbabwe is dominated by the old, tired, largely depressing narrative about economic challenges and hardships facing this country of immense opportunity," said Hamadziripi.

"Let me tell you some obvious and incontrovertible truths. Zimbabwe will not rise again by being pitied. Zimbabwe will not rise again by being mocked and laughed at. Zimbabwe will rise again through the efforts and contributions of all its people first and foremost. This has already begun."

He said the summit, which also was also attended by South Africans doing business in Zimbabwe, was Harare's effort to woo more international players into the economy which suffered hyperinflation and recently had an economic meltdown which saw shops run out of goods and citizens queue for fuel.

Eric Bruggeman, chief executive of SA Capital Equipment Export Council,said doing business in Zimbabwe has not always been smooth sailing.

"One of the problems we found with Zimbabwe is, until now, I don't know who to speak to. We've had several meetings and I guess you've heard the politics … with certain politician you can only go so far and then nothing happens. Or you have a forum like today where people say let's do something, let's get together and [afterwards] you can't get hold of them anymore," said Bruggeman.

"Hopefully, today we can sit with all the gentlemen … we want to do business. This morning I had a company calling me to say how do we do business in Zimbabwe? Zimbabwe is an important market for South Africa.

"We don't want to just dump goods. As capital equipment, our members, they don't go into a country to dump goods. We form partnerships. That's the way, we need to use Zimbabwean people to service, maintain, install and to build our equipment."

- African News Agency

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

'Mnangagwa to be removed in a painful way'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 114 Views

WATCH: Chiwenga attacks Mnangagwa and Masiyiwa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 102 Views

Mnangagwa must act on economic decay

by Concerned Citizen | 20 April 2019 | 91 Views

The Gukurahundi hearings

by Clemen Moyo (Mr) | 20 April 2019 | 59 Views

Chamisa is Ndebele Closest Saviour, Dear Thulani

by Multiverse Dungani | 20 April 2019 | 84 Views

'I prefer to be led by MDC' says Mliswa

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 117 Views

LIVE: Temba Mliswa holds his own Independence celebration

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 83 Views

Top Pastor blasts Jonathan Moyo

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 100 Views

Sydney Malunga's son speaks on the economic crisis

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 88 Views

HIV used to cure babies in America

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 98 Views

Why Zambezi Water Project will never be achieved

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 72 Views

Disgraced Australian journalist arrested in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 81 Views

We're not Gukurahundi activists, says Mthwakazi

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 64 Views

Woman wants maintenance until she remarries or dies

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 72 Views

Man petitions police to release car held as exhibit

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 69 Views

Cyclone Idai buried people with their belongings

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 78 Views

Rift widens in MDC Masvingo

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 66 Views

Chamisa reaches out to Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 75 Views

Mnangagwa's advisors turn against Trevor Ncube

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 134 Views

MDC Structures keep the dream alive, the Jewel of Africa returns

by Jacob Mafume | 20 April 2019 | 108 Views

Mnangagwa wedged between a rock and hard place

by Editorial - Daily News | 20 April 2019 | 108 Views

Chamisa demands face to face meeting with Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 115 Views

PHOTOS: Bulawayo - Nkayi road construction

by Social media | 20 April 2019 | 97 Views

Credible team and sound advice ahead of Elective Congress

by A big Easter by Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo | 20 April 2019 | 87 Views

South Africa and Zimbabwe turn a blind eye

by Sipho Ndlovu | 20 April 2019 | 90 Views

If its about us let us know

by Thomas Murisa | 20 April 2019 | 74 Views

ZAA Canada announces inaugural nominees

by Staff reporter | 20 April 2019 | 82 Views

Mnangagwa scared of death via political foul play

by Itai Mushekwe | 20 April 2019 | 93 Views

VACANCY: Thomson Reuters Foundation is employing

by Mandla Ndlovu | 19 April 2019 | 171 Views

Mohadi goes to court, seeks protection against ex-wife

by Staff reporter | 19 April 2019 | 223 Views

Gukurahundi cannot be wished away: Williams

by Staff reporter | 19 April 2019 | 171 Views