WHY ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN ZIMBABWE HAS NOT RESULTED IN ECONOMIC GROWTH

By Michelle Munatswa

It appears that everyone in Zimbabwe is an entrepreneur. By virtue of the multitudes having one venture or another in bussiness, we are practically a nation of entrepreneurs. So why can we not turn our entrepreneurial might into sustained economic growth? Why can’t we see the emergence of more Strive Masiyiwa-like business people?

The answer to the above two questions lies in asking a third question: When does entrepreneurship not lead to economic growth? Below I have highlighted some factors contributing to a stagnant economy despite our entrepreneurial activities.

Exploitative entrepreneurship

I consider exploitative entrepreneurship as any business or venture that profits without regard to the accepted social and cultural norms and the wellbeing of others. For example, Kombi drivers from my beloved Pumula South come to mind. The normal fare to Pumula South is 50cents, but if it is after 10pm the fair doubles to a dollar. Time of day does not really add to their cost but simply presents an opportunity for them to exploit commuters who are desperate to go home. The drivers see an opportunity to make more money at night but there is no production or value added in the said venture. There is no consideration as to fairness or financial impact on the commuters. There is no value addition or production, but simply an unfair transfer of money. We need to guard against ideas that make the individual profit at the expense of the majority. Such ideas breed a culture of greed and do not encourage innovation but rather exploitation. Such ventures rob the working class of potential savings which are important for the functioning of financial institutions.

Exploitative entrepreneurship does not cause economic growth as few benefit (and live extravagant lives) while the majority wallow in poverty. The majority are robbed of purchasing power meaning that industry will not be profitable.

Occasion entrepreneurship (One hit wonder)

Entrepreneurship involves identifying opportunities. In Zimbabwe we have one hit entrepreneurs, who come across opportunities (‘Gap’) and make a quick buck, buy an ex-japan car and are back at the same cashflows as before. This represents the majority of the Zimbabweans, always looking out to hear of where there is a shortage of anything and try seek supply to meet the demand. Such business practices are not sustainable and do not add economic value as one cannot consistently be guaranteed that an opportunity will come their way. The income from once off deals is often not reinvested but is consumed callously. Once off deals are good as long as the individuals understand the need to reinvest the proceeds as opposed to having a consumptive mentality to profit. (Kudya mbewu). For there to be economic growth, there has to be both constant idea generation and also constant production. Once off deals do not bring individual or national sustainable income. Thus, for our ventures to result in economic growth, they have to be sustainable and continuous ventures.

Value creation and hunter gatherer budgeting.

Until recently, Zimbabweans associated term “Hunter gatherer” with the Khoi-san people, but the biti.jpgHonourable Tendai Biti linked the term to our country’s fiscal policy. I would also like to link it to our entrepreneurial approach. Our entrepreneurs can only invest what they have gathered. Our people have very little disposable income and consequently very little investment income. This means that their business will be limited to buying and selling airtime in the streets or other small ventures. Even though this feeds families, it does not create additional employment as most of the ventures are one man part-time shows. Our entrepreneurial activities are under capitalised and under- funded. Our “hunter gatherer”/cash budgeting approach to development limits the amount of capital available for people to invest in enterprise. Entrepreneurial activities in Zimbabwe have not led to economic growth because many are of the ventures are very small scale and only allow the entrepreneur to feed the family on a monthly basis as opposed to growing industry and trade. There is little or no pooling of resources to enable business growth.

Lack of government support to entrepreneurship

The government is responsible for shaping economic policy and creating an enabling environment for all enterprise to flourish. No clear policy direction has been established. This causes people to shy away from investing in enterprise. One can sight the small scale farmers who were given land as entrepreneurs and the move as a beacon of government involvement in entrepreneurship. However, my contention is that even the small scale farmers have received inadequate support to the extent that they have only been able to produce enough to feed their families and not the nation of Zimbabwe. Until government accepts an increased role in supporting entrepreneurs and creating an enabling environment for the growth of business, our ideas shall always remain barren and our bellies shall forever become empty. Government support should also be conditional and transparent. Government support should not only be financial but it should also be technical. Government policy should be friendly to business.

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You are not still young, you are just not paying attention.

By Sineke Sibanda

In the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, I interacted with a number of entrepreneurs. It was amazing to see what Africans can do, and it just got me thinking, over and over again.

When I looked at some of the inventions, I thought to myself, I could see a giant rise out of Africa, given the next 20 years of a consistent positive attitude towards development.

So I heard people talk after the whole day at Trade Fair, the complaints ensued from the fact that our African countries do not have opportunities, they were too young and lots of other things. I thought to myself, is it really because there are no opportunities or people are simply not paying attention?

I sincerely believe that we are not too young, too broke or too whatever, we are simply not paying attention.

With the current state of African economies, it might need about 70-140 years of consistent development for it to reach where the first world countries are right now; and to think there are no opportunities is injustice to the future generations.

I’m not necessarily shunning out that Africa, including its leadership have a problem but my point is, we are not doing enough to make ourselves better. One of the biggest opportunities you have is that in trying to answer a need in your society, you inadvertently make yourself better.

One of the things I have learnt in my Critical theory courses and Popular Culture classes is that capitalism, which is largely the driving force behind world systems today thrives on competition and false consciousness where we are made to think that everything we want in the world have. Capitalism creates imaginary solutions, there is a lot we still need and we can still do in Africa, as Africans if we pay attention.

A capitalist system that is also stealing our time right now is the school system. Most of us are made to believe that we can only make meaningful changes after graduating but by the time we graduate, we already have other pressures that force us instead to look for a job and answer immediate needs within our families. This creates little time for us to think bigger and beyond, before we know it, we have all been working for a capitalist and we are looking forward to retiring. What solution have we brought to the world, or our communities? Nothing. To be frank, Africa’s children need to poke the bubble of false consciousness sooner and help Africa be the place to be.

We need to start paying attention to what matters! That which is beyond just us…

Internet Marketing key for your business.

By Sineke Sibanda

“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” – Bill Gates.

Over time, Gates’ words have been gathering moss, pointing to the fact that the future we are headed towards will be determined more by the internet than anything else.

There is so much activity that happens online now, such that most businesses can not doInternetSales.jpg without. Just to carry out an x-ray assessment of this claim; consider how banks, mobile networks, clothing retail stores and gadgets that we now buy or access their services from the comfort of our homes. This simply points to how the world of business has been significantly reconfigured, but the question is, what does it mean to you?

It may simply mean that if you decide to keep your invention off the internet, you definitely will be certain that there is little that invention will do to the world beyond your reach.

So to be quite honest, there has to be a way you can turn your innovation into something bigger and better.

packagepricing.jpgThe internet now offers a number of answers to different questions, why cant your innovation be also seen in the list of answers. Probably a lot of advantages you know them and there has been a lot of articles written and awash on the web as to how to ‘neticise’ (putting it on the net) your business.

I will not do that again but all I can say hear is that one of the reasons we are really not marketing our businesses online from this end of the world (Africa) is normally because we lack confidence in our creations. We are not sure if it’s the right answer, if it’s the correct innovation, if people will welcome it well.

I have heard lots of testimonies and testified to a number of unfortunate instances personally but the honest truth is, just do what you have to do. Its gonna be scary at first but I mean, cease the moment, be confident and just do it. Do you still care about what people really have to say, that ain’t gonna bring the money you have been looking for, just do what you have to do.

The After Life

The semester is ending; I am almost done with the examinations.

Been boggled about what is next,

What next after university.

What should one be doing as they wait anxiously for the final results that will determine whether they will graduate or not….

Well, it is now more about the title and graduating that matters most than the life after that because still, it is unknown.

The economy has managed to play that part quite well,

No companies to accommodate us all,

No stable economy,

No JOBS!!!

The song has been sung over and over but still no jobs.

 

It is a feeling filled up with mixed emotions for most part fours, at least most of my colleagues.

It is nice to finish varsity because of the stressful assignments but then what next…

Most companies are not employing, story of every Zimbabwean.

Staying at home and just waiting is not ideal also.

Year in and year out thousands graduate and most graduates only hope for a better future.

Amidst the uncertainties of life hope is not lost, hope that our government will eventually act and do something to cater for the thousands of unemployed graduates around Zimbabwe.

But just like the afterlife, it remains unknown…

 

 

 

 

 

CHRONICLES OF A GRADUATE

It’s common knowledge that getting a Degree, Masters or PhD requires hard work and commitment.  Anyway, it is meant to be.

Some even say that if you’re not up all night working or skipping meals, you’re doing it wrong. But while Degree, Masters or PhD students are not so naive as to enter the program expecting an easy ride, there is a cost to the endeavor that no one talks about: a psychological one.

‘The days I spent pursuing my PhD in physics were some of my darkest’, said a PhD holder. ‘It wasn’t the intellectual challenges or the workload that brought me down; it was my deteriorating mental health. I felt unsupported, and adrift in uncertainty. Anxiety attacks became a part of my daily life. Day in and day out I started thinking that maybe I was not cut out for this, my Masters was enough for me’.

People say it is worth every sweat, cent and you have to commit 100 percent, but what about the mental breakdowns, the fatigue, depression, anxiety and the headaches. All around the world graduates suffer from one thing or another because of too much reading or confusion at times but it is all worth it at the end because they do get jobs unlike in Zimbabwe where a person has to struggle or wait 5 or more years to get employed.

It has been reported that 53% of academics in the United Kingdom suffer from mental illness.
 

LETTING GO

By Leeandah

Have you ever received a call from your ‘bae’ telling you how they can no-longer be in the relationship with you anymore? Confusion strikes, you cry, you curse but one thing l have experienced and that hurts is letting go.

There is nothing painful and heart breaking as letting go of someone especially when you loved them. Letting go is not a once of thing but a process that has no estimated time frame. During the first days you will be thinking he was joking but then reality is he has left you unexpectedly when you thought maybe we are on the same page.

As days pass by you will be trying to comfort yourself thinking you will be fine but you would be having sleepless nights, flash backs. Flash backs are the worst moments that can ruin your day. In some instances you find yourself looking at the pictures you took together and you try and figure out what really went wrong, at the end of the day you blame yourself for everything

Crying and blame game will never wipe away the fact that he is gone and he will not come back. Yes, you will hesitate to call him and ask how he is holding up since he left you. The truth is the ‘dude’ moved on the moment he thought of leaving you. Stalking him will be the order of the day whilst he moves on with his life. Letting go of the memories you shared will be a nightmare and something you cannot do.

It’s ok for you to miss the person who hurt you but it’s not ok for you to let that person hurt you again by thinking about that person. Never let someone who you wrong made you feel like there I something wrong with you. Do not devalue yourself just because someone did not know your worth even when that person does not.

Its ok for you to still care about the person who took you for granted but it’s not ok for you to put yourself back in a position that person made you feel unappreciated. Learn to move on with your life without stalking him, wondering how he is holding up because he doesn’t care anymore. Get out of that shell and be yourself and be happy because you only live once. YOLO

 

Implications of inserting traditional herbs in the Vajayjay

By Lisa Masuku

herbs
Picture taken from Nehanda Radio

I was coming from Plumtree town when a commuter omnibus dropped me at Egodini terminus. I rushed to the public toilet before I proceeded to my home. Without paying attention I entered to the toilet to relieve myself.

When I was coming out I bumped into a group of women who were sitting and in front of them there were herbs. I wondered what it was.  As I kept staring one of the old grannies called me “makoti buya uzebona ezokuqinisa umuzi” (come and see medicines for making your home strong).

I also wondered what that meant. I was sacred. I turned and approached her. She showed me herbs and she said all those were meant to boost women’s sex drive and in this way the herbs help keep a ma.

She also continually emphasised that the herbs are the gateway for a woman to consistently work her magic in bed and certainly satisfy her man in that way her man would never think of approaching other women.

I thought to myself how these traditional herbs can do that? I listened…. She described “This is called umchemo wendwangu. If you use it he will never turn against you,” she said.

Beside me, there were a lot of women who were buying such medicines. They were going from $1 price to $5 depending on the type of muthi (herbs) that one wants to purchase.

I chit chatted with her for quite some time as he was trying to convince me to buy the traditional medicines.

I left without buying any. I thought to myself how women use these traditional herbs to make their man want them more

“She told me. You insert it into your vagina before having sex. You can stay with it for three hours or more and remove it after some time,” I told myself what she told me.

I was so worried. I went on and I asked my auntie. She told me they are good traditional herbs to make a man stay and like you.

I thought to myself does this not have health effects on women because most of these people are not traditional medicine experts but they are only after making a livelihood for themselves.

I took turns to ask health experts.

Sitheni Nzima, a nurse in South Africa said these herbs are the ones that cause cervical cancer. Nzima described those herbs as having serious effects on women bodies.

“Women should not use those herbs because they have a great effect on their bodies. Some suffer from cervical cancer because or those herbs. They should not tempt to use them. They have long term effects on people’s bodies,” she said.

Another health expert, Dumiso Mleya, a doctor said it was so worrying that women abuse their bodies just to please men.

Mleya said they risk their bodies by using those natural herbs only to make a man stay without considering the side effects of those herbs.

“Women should be concerned about their bodies. Inserting herbs to your vagina has a great effect as some end up suffering from many diseases. These days we all fear cancer. Such herbs contribute to cervical cancer,” he said.

Above all, the most important thing is for one to love and believe in herself before seeking out love from someone else.