Factors and events to watch out for Feb 19 – Feb 25
HARARE – President Mugabe’s annual birthday interview is set to air tonight and tomorrow on ZBC TV. Already excerpts of the interview have been published and what’s coming out and which was also talked about during the First Lady’s rally last week is that there is no suitable candidate within the party to succeed the President. Different interpretations have already been given on both the First Lady’s remarks and the President’s interview with most quickly saying that this automatically means the vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa is not the best person to take over.
No doubt the succession issue remains the elephant in the room in an economy which is struggling to attract foreign investors. As was reported in January on this service, net FDI into this country fell to $254 million from $399 million in 2015. The continued lack of clarity on the succession issue, albeit important, has created anxieties and suspense in the ruling party, with different factions emerging which are apparently sabotaging each other, which sometimes frustrates government operations and the full realisation of programmes earmarked to benefit the generality of the populace. Factionalism has also caused confusion in policy elaboration as government officials have sometimes tended to give contradicting interpretations on important pieces of legislation. That also left some investors in a wait-and-see stance, with some companies already operating in Zimbabwe postponing their expansionary plans.
Already, companies like Vast Resources have sold some of their investments in the country in a move that the company said was motivated by the need to minimise exposure to economic uncertainty in the country. Obviously, confidence can drop amidst uncertainty over what kind of leadership the succession contestations will eventually bring out and whether they will honour old commitments. It is the view of some stakeholders that some government officials now spend much on their energy plotting against each other in order to position themselves conveniently in the succession race. The general sentiment is that the economy might be more predictable if the ruling party implements a deliberate process to ensure a proper succession with a view to avoid succession-related economic decline.
Some of the other factors and events to watch out for this week are as follows:
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union is going on strike today, if they are still standing by their initial announcement, over unpaid bonuses. The Union said the employer has remained silent on details of when and how their outstanding 2016 bonuses will be paid. At the last meeting between held between government and civil servants’ representatives, they were offered the options of residential stands, a cash stipend coupled with-non monetary benefits and property investment bonds. The three options were all rejected, with both parties saying they will be consulting further. The decisions government is going to make on the bonus issue might affect employment costs and put pressure on the 2017 national budget which did not make a provision for bonus pay-outs.
World Bank Political Economy Seminar
On Tuesday, the World Bank will hold a seminar focusing on the Shifting Global Economic and Political Landscape. The background of the event is that, after two generations of increasing global interconnectedness, the post-World War II order is fraying. Slow global growth and increasing inequality, refugee flows, and the rise of political figures espousing nationalist and protectionist positions pose difficult challenges to global interconnectedness. Fresh perspectives on how advanced, developing, and emerging market countries will shape the global geopolitical landscape going forward will be explored during a series of events starting in Washington and Beijing.
Ecobank/Afreximbank US$500 Million Facility
Zimbabwe’s private sector should start bracing for the US$500 million facility that will be disbursed by Afreximbank through Ecobank. Afreximbank and Ecobank Transnational Incorporate, the parent company of the Ecobank Group recently signed a memorandum of understanding to promote joint corporate objectives through the financing of private sector projects and trade finance transactions, focusing particularly on transactions involving trade and investment in Afreximbank member countries where Ecobank also has a presence. Ecobank has a presence in 36 African countries and is the eighth biggest commercial bank in Zimbabwe, with a core capital of US$52 million. The cooperation between the two institutions will support efforts at promoting intra-African trade, facilitating industrial development and export development, and strengthening African trade finance leadership, with the ultimate goal of transforming the African continent.
Africa Knowledge Fest
On Wednesday, the World Bank will launch the first-ever Africa Knowledge Fest which brings stakeholders to the Bank’s most recent, relevant knowledge products and celebrates some of the most dynamic thinkers on Africa’s development today. The Bank will conduct the first discussion on Facebook Live at 5:30pm, where Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa Region, will be sharing insights on Africa. In preparation for the broadcast, the Bank has been inviting stakeholders to submit their responses on the data and research that they think their countries need to achieve their development goals.
Stakeholder Engagement Workshop
On Thursday, the construction industry will conduct two Stakeholder Engagement Workshops in Masvingo and Mutare. All employees in the construction industry are hereby invited to attend the events which are part of a series of seminars in the regions as part of the industry’s long term customer relationship management strategy. This engagement will be used as a platform of sharing ideas, feedback and drawing up strategies in an effort of enhancing value to both employers and members.
Show Exhibitors Launch
On Friday, the Harare Agricultural Societywill hold the 2017 Show Exhibitors Launch, an event that is expected to be attended by more than 5,500 organisations. Participants include internet service providers, landscaping companies, events management and others.
Choose Women Buy Local Exhibition
On Saturday, Stimulus Innovation Centre will hold the Choose Women Buy Local market event where women will showcase and sell their works. The event, to be held at 171 Fife Avenue, will provide a platform for women to publicise what they do and is part of efforts to promote women entrepreneurship.