Zimbabwean businesses should look beyond the horizon of challenges and grab available investment opportunities under the new dispensation to help transform the country’s economy, Steward Bank chief executive office Lance Mambondiani, has said.
While President Mnangagwa’s Government has pronounced that “Zimbabwe is open for business”, the seasoned banker and development economist believes collective efforts and hard work by every Zimbabwean will deliver desired economic growth.
Speaking in Bulawayo at a recent Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) charities event where he was guest of honour, Mambondiani said the time has come for all Zimbabweans to put their heads together and focus on economic development as opposed to trading accusations and criticising each other.
He said speculative tendencies in business circles and spreading of negative impressions about the country would not bring progress.
Mambondiani called on politicians, business leaders and diverse societal groupings to direct their energies to national developmental issues and leave a legacy of progress for future generations.
“All of us are responsible for creating the Zimbabwe we want. We are responsible for the things we do and say because we only have one country. If we don’t take care of it, where are we going to live,” he said.
Mambondiani said the string of challenges that the country has suffered over the years present great opportunities for the entrepreneurial mind, especially now when “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
He said the country has huge potential given its rich natural resources. Zimbabwe is the third largest producer of platinum group of metals in the world and fifth largest source of lithium, a highly sought mineral for modern cell phone battery manufacturers.
Recently, Zimbabwe has attracted more investors seeking lithium mining operations. The country is also among the largest tobacco producers worldwide and boasts rich gold reserves, incredible climate and well educated working class.
Yes, “Zimbabwe is open for business”, and needs to attract foreign direct investment from different countries, said Mambondiani, but this should not come at the expense of locals. He challenged locals to up their play and take charge in driving the economy at home ahead of Chinese, the French and Germany, among others.
“Who is doing your roads, electricity, energy, all those projects so that we take this country to the next level? We have one country; we are one people and one nation.
“If we are not taking care of these opportunities yet Zimbabwe is open for business, it will be open for others to plunder and take your natural resources because we are sitting here and are not seeing the bigger picture.
We are not seeing beyond the horizon, we are not seeing what we can do ourselves as a people and the opportunities created by our challenges,” he said.
Mambondiani urged Zimbabweans to take a leaf from countries such as Singapore and United Arab Emirates, who, through transformational leadership, have grown their economies from poverty to spectacular levels of being one of the most progressive in the world.
“We in many instances like to look at challenges more than we do on opportunities, we like to complain, we like to identify problems than solutions, we need to be careful of people who would drain our energy, who constantly criticise for no reason,” said Mambondiani.
“We are still arguing and squabbling about who is going to build one single road between here and Beitbridge, how we are going to feed our people when grain runs out.”
He said the desired Zimbabwean destiny must be one that unites every citizen across communities and impacts on future generations.