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Zimbabwe should use local think tanks to drive implementation of the indigenisation programme and increase protection of domestic intellectual property to achieve economic growth, Bulawayo-based business transformation strategist Mr Zwelibanzi Ndlovu has said.

Mr Ndlovu, who met with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa during a tour of stands at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair last Wednesday, said huge economic potential for the country lay latent in local personnel.

“The country is on a path where indigenisation has been understood. Some of what may have been seen as hype has been put into context. Indigenisation is not about how much you own but owning so that you can make a difference,” he said.

“In that regard, the country is at a point where we’ve indigenised companies, which means companies where Zimbabweans own a majority stake in terms of equity. We now own most of the companies and natural resources.

“However, when it comes to running those companies we come short in terms of failure to support indigenous business minds, indigenous scholars and indigenous strategic thinkers to develop models, methodologies and tools that can be used to transform organisations.”

Mr Ndlovu said while indigenous people had been empowered and now own the means of production, a majority of entities were foreign-oriented.

“We’ve a situation where indigenous people own natural resources but when it comes to running companies, we look again to the West,” he said.

“We still use Michael Porter and his five Cs, use Steve Covey and his seven habits. We go back to the West and copy their balanced score cards. Basically, what we’re doing is indigenising ownership but when it comes to running these things we’re using foreign model skills.

“My point is that when we indigenise ownership, those entities should be run using indigenous business models. It’s as if we entrust our resources in such a way that we trust the hands, feet, the muscles and physical attributes of Zimbabweans but we don’t trust their brains to run entities.”

The business consultant and founder of Stop to Start International said Zimbabwe had the brightest intellectuals and concrete models backed by thorough research which were yet to benefit the country.

“I had the privilege of having the VP (Mnangagwa) coming to spend time at our stand and I was saying can something be done to ensure that the natural and human resources in terms of intellectual capital of the Zimbabwean can be protected and be utilised so that when we talk about results-based management we look at tools that have been developed by indigenous people to run those indigenous businesses,” said Mr Ndlovu.

He challenged local firms to produce competitive products to compete on the export market.

“Trade is two-way, we need to produce, remain competitive and export. Most importantly, we need to partner. We need to demonstrate we’re proactive in terms of partnerships,” said Ndlovu.

He said it was unfortunate that due to the difficult economy, most companies were scaling down.

“People are cutting out whole components. I mean when times are hard they cut training, consultancy, some cut marketing,” said Mr Ndlovu. “My aice is that you still need to have the ratios. A certain portion of your money must go to research and marketing.

“That’s the reason why in this depressed economy Bulawayo-based companies like us are at this trade fair since we started for the fourth year running. It doesn’t mean we’ve paid all our other debts. We’re running like every business but we’ve to balance other things and still spend on marketing while we spend on other things.”

Source : The Herald

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