‘Zim is open for business to locals too’

25 Apr, 2018 - 00:04 0 Views
‘Zim is open for business to locals too’ Botswana and Nigeria are among countries that are exhibiting at Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which opened in Bulawayo yesterday

The Herald

Bulawayo Bureau
President Mnangagwa’s drive to open Zimbabwe for business is not targeting foreign investors only, but mainly locals who should grab the opportunity to increase domestic production and grow their businesses, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has said.

In an interview at the OPC stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo yesterday, Senior Principal Director and Head of Public Affairs Ambassador Mary Mubi said some sections of society were mistaking the “Zimbabwe is open for business”, as a mantra to woo foreigners at the expense of locals.

Instead, she said, the ongoing reform processes were hinged on the ease of doing business initiatives Government was putting in place to support local businesses and buttress local empowerment.

“Zimbabwe is open for business in some ways has been wrongly interpreted as being that Zimbabwe is just focusing on outsiders,” said Ambassador Mubi. “At the end of the day, it is our people, our business sector who should benefit. Business people are the people who should drive the initiative.

“Largely, Zimbabwe is open for business is about the environment that we are trying to create through the ease of doing business which then empowers our people to be able to do business.”

Ambassador Mubi said Government, through the OPC, was spearheading a national branding exercise to complement ease of doing business reforms and enhance competitive domestic market product, bench-marking on the international market.
In that regard, she stressed the need for the public and private sector to aggressively address brand equity issues.
Brand equity refers to the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service, rather than from the product or service itself.

She said as part of the 100-day rapid results initiative, the OPC came up with provincial branding initiatives and was in the process of compiling one at national level.
“We need to do more on benchmarking and branding because little is known about our country,” said Ambassador Mubi.

“We realise that the issue of national branding is really important. It’s not sufficient to have good products these days, we need to look at brand equity and reposition ourselves by looking at our strategic sectors.”

Ambassador Mubi challenged businesses to compile statistics that will demonstrate progress in various areas, so as to market the country. She made reference to the impressive human capital advantage of Zimbabwe, which has a highly literate population in Africa, yet little marketing was being done to leverage the economy on that.

“As ministries, we are not consciously reporting on our progress so that we provide the necessary figure even in instances where we do well,” said Ambassador Mubi. “At national level, both in the private and public sector, we need to be conscious about benchmarking.

“The greatest asset that we have is our human capital and we really need to provide a platform for our own people to market and speak for themselves.
“We should provide that information because it’s a strength that we need to leverage on.”

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