Zimpapers launches Business Weekly
ZIMPAPERS yesterday launched a weekly business publication, Business Weekly, as the media group continues to implement various growth strategies and enhance its dominance on the local media landscape.
The publication was launched at a colourful event graced by senior Government officials and renowned business leaders.
The weekly newspaper will be published every Friday and edited by Happiness Zengeni, who becomes the first woman editor at a national newspaper in Zimbabwe.
The newspaper will mainly focus on latest business news, special reports and in-depth analysis of the economy.
Previous consumer surveys showed that most local publications, including existing business weeklies, had turned political, hence the need for a paper dedicated to providing fair coverage of finance, business and the economy.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was the guest of honour, officially launched the publication in Harare, at an event also attended by Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa; Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe; Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, among other dignitaries.
VP Mnangagwa told the delegates that Government was committed to creating a conducive business environment that meets the needs of the media industry.
“Healthy businesses translate into a healthy economy,” he said. “When we see our businesses thriving, as is happening here today, we are challenged to do even more.”
VP Mnangagwa implored the business community to use the newly launched publication to influence Government policy.
“It is my firm conviction that for our economy to achieve the targets we have set for ourselves through various programmes, we need to communicate more efficiently and effectively,” he said.
“To that end, there is need for robust debate, serious discourse on policy rationality, improved production levels, the ease of doing business and the financial services that are offered.
“Every policy must be interrogated with a view of making the reforms work and develop our country.”
VP Mnangagwa said the media was a powerful tool for business communication, marketing and influencing public opinion and preferences the world over.
“Furthermore, it helps in fighting against corruption, nepotism, cronyism of institutional machinery and carrying out relentless campaigns against them,” he said.
VP Mnangagwa said investors looked at what the media said to make informed decisions and it was critical that the media in Zimbabwe appreciated its key responsibility in the development trajectory of the country.
He said while there were other newspapers, the view in the market was that none of them had been able to cater for the market specific needs of business leaders and professionals.
“For example, there has been a lack of information on SMEs success stories and how companies and business leaders are positively changing the country’s economic landscape,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“Consequently, we need a positive narrative that will drive the country forward.”
VP Mnangagwa applauded Zimpapers for the way it covered Command Agriculture, saying dissemination of such information had been helpful to farmers.
“One of the success stories of our media is the role they are playing in disseminating adequate information on the rational, progress and success of the special maize programme for import substitution, better known as Command Agriculture,” he said.
“The media kept us all informed about developments in this programme, which has seen farmers getting the right information at the right time.”
Zimpapers’ titles such as The Herald, The Sunday Mail, The Chronicle, The Sunday News and Manica Post have consistently reported on Command Agriculture since the programme was launched last year.
“I applaud the media industry for a sterling job in keeping all stakeholders updated on progress in our national programme,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“Let me hasten to say that, the proceeds from the programme will benefit all our citizens, irrespective of tribe, religion, ethnicity and political affiliation, among other factors.”
Speaking at the launch, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa challenged the Business Weekly to report on the emerging economy.
“God answers prayers in his own time. Since I came to treasury I have been bemoaning the fact that politics is dominating everything.
“There is no space given to the true economic story unfolding before us as Zimbabweans. Each time I met Zimpapers editors I was always complaining why the true economic story was not being reported.
“The dominant things are succession politics. It drowns the message of the hard work our people are putting to make the economy tick,” He added: “In my budget I said the old economy is dying and a new economy is emerging. The story I want the Business Weekly to tell is the story of the emerging new economy. It looks chaotic but creation comes from chaos.
“The world was created out of chaos and so is the case with the emerging economy. What does the new economy entail? Before we had 2 000 tobacco farmers producing 200 million kilogrammes, in the new economy we have 105 000. In the gold sector we had few primary producers, but right now we have 350 000 artisanal miners contributing 47 percent of gold production.”
In his remarks, Dr Mushohwe said Government expected the weekly business paper to provide the right platform for business and Government to engage.
He said Government hoped that the paper would profile the hard work and resilience of Zimbabweans, while also correcting misconceptions about the economy peddled by some of the existing newspapers.
“We reject the notion that our economy is a dying economy,” said Dr Mushohwe.
“We see an economy on the rebound and we hope that is what will be reflected in the business pages of this publication.
“We hope this paper will profile the work of hard working Zimbabweans and their contribution to our economic growth.”
Dr Mushohwe said the stories of the people’s resilience and innovation were not given fair and just acknowledgement in most of the existing daily and weekly papers.
“We would like to see more of the positive efforts of our business community documented,” he said.
“Yes, the political story is important and should be told, but there is need for a balance, it is important to know the challenges that business is facing and the creative innovations business is championing.
“In the same vein, it is also important to expose bad business practices and encourage or profile best practices to allow for objective reportage.”
Dr Mushohwe said media houses should not be used as spring boards for political gladiators.
He said the role of Government was to create an enabling environment where business would thrive.
“As Government, we are keen to learn and collaborate with you, the business community,” he said.
“We hope, therefore, that the Business Weekly will be a place where the Government and business can share ideas and help move the country forward.”
Zimpapers chief executive Mr Pikirayi Deketeke said the publication would strive to provide fair coverage and would interrogate issues affecting the economy.