BULAWAYO-- Former Botswana president Ian Khama says Zimbabwe has great potential to become a shining beacon in the region, while stressing the critical need for the government to cultivate a culture of good corporate governance to curtail corruption and to efficiently deliver services to citizens.

Khama, who was the guest speaker at the on-going Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) annual congress in Zimbabwe's second city, said Thursday the country already had the necessary ingredients for its economy to prosper, primarily an educated populace and a diversified natural resource base.

I believe very strongly that Zimbabwe is a truly great country and has the potential to reach and give its people great prosperity and transform its economy, he said.

He was sharing lessons with industrialists on how Botswana transformed its economy on the back of its diamond resources. I am very confident as I am optimistic that going forward, you will realize your full potential.

In the hands of newly elected President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who in a departure from the isolationist policies of the previous administration, has opened up the country for business with all nations around the world, the government has set an ambitious target to transform Zimbabwe into a middle income country by 2030, with vastly improved standards of living for the majority.

The economy has in the past two decades struggled under the yoke of anctions imposed by the West, mis-governance riddled with corruption and maladministration. And during the period, local industry has seen its share of contribution to economic growth and job creation slump faced by a concoction of challenges among them shortage of foreign currency and lack of access to funding for capital expenditure.

Khama said it was imperative that the government, as facilitator, allowed its systems to function efficiently to enable the private sector to play its role of developing the nation and creating wealth. Prudent macro-economic policies, good governance with strong checks and balances, were key to facilitating growth and development, he added.

He said reliance on one major source of income was disastrous for any economy, encouraging product diversification. Do not depend on one market or country because if that market collapses, you are done for, he said.

Khama called for continued collaboration between the two countries to enhance their growth. He said it was critical to reduce involvement of government officials in tender processes to reduce corruption. Botswana is ranked by Transparency International as one of the least corrupt African countries.

New Zimbabwean Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said the government would continue to listen and engage the private sector as it worked towards rejuvenating the struggling manufacturing sector.

The average capacity utilization for the sector has hovered below 50 per cent for years as economic challenges took their toll.

One of the goals is that the manufacturing sector should attain a growth rate of five percent per annum for the next 10 years, he said. Government on its part will be implementing various policy measures, strategies and interventions to facilitate industrial development and refocus the productive sectors of the economy.