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Adopting national winning and empowering beliefs and ethos

28 Apr 2013 at 07:14hrs | Views
The import of the topic before us must be understood. We are discussing the importance and impact of identifying, designing and adopting national winning and empowering beliefs and ethos that will allow us to improve the social, political and economic status of our nation without endangering the environment or negatively impacting future generations.

In doing this, it cannot be business as usual. Zimbabweans have to be motivated to do things differently. This is what this topic entails. A value is what is considered of importance in life, what makes life worth living.

A value is also something that helps people decide what is right or wrong; what motivates and drives a citizen.

Characteristics of a value include that it is very important, guides our activities, is applicable to a wider community and that it is universal and enduring.

Our values separate us from others, by defining who we are. They constitute ethos that one holds dearly, that which influences one's actions.

Put differently, a value is a universal eternal truth that guides both our behaviour and actions while giving us identity. Good values lead to winning behaviours, which in turn drive social and economic prosperity.

When values and principles are organised and adopted as collective and universal to a group, community or citizenry, in a manner that defines a way of life, this then defines a shared value system. This is the foundation of a shared national vision; a collective aspired-to social, political, and economic destination. In order to achieve sustainable development Zimbabwe needs both a shared value system and a shared nation vision.

There are three areas where we will explore the development and adoption of new values. The first is the social and political arena, followed by the field of economic values. Thereafter we will attend to the new values that allow us to effectively engage globalisation and the ICT revolution.

Politically, we have just adopted a new national Constitution, which lays the legal foundation for sustainable development rooted in the rule of law.

While this is a major achievement, it must be emphasised that the Constitution itself is just a piece of paper.

It does not compel or force anyone to obey or respect it. We need to build and develop the culture, tradition and behaviour of respecting the Constitution. This is the value we call Constitutionalism. We need a new value system that puts Constitutionalism at the centre of our thoughts and actions.

It is instructive to note that the Constitution which we are retiring did not provide for violence and corruption.

However, these vices and shenanigans occurred in our country, which means in addition to good rules and laws, we need good values, and the corresponding value system.

Furthermore, we need to embrace peace, fairness, equity, integrity, equality, democracy, political tolerance, the dignity of difference, and view diversity as a strength.

Unfortunately, all these values cannot be legislated and declared by proclamation. They require civic education, social mobilization, socialisation, and leading by example. All this must be complemented and enabled by transformational leadership, innovative institutions and learning organisations. Obviously, such development and adoption of values and the corresponding value system will take time, but the journey must begin today.

The Government of Zimbabwe, itself, must promote, espouse and be an embodiment of values that promote economic development. In particular, it has a duty and obligation to create an enabling economic environment and conducive business climate. There is need for certainty, predictability, respect for the rule of law, and provision of an enabling policy framework that fosters and enhances sustainable development.

In addition to learning from other nations we must look within ourselves for insights on values. Our African cultures, traditional practices, indigenous knowledge systems are excellent repositories of lessons. For example, the Ubuntu (unhu) value framework with its various and variegated slogans: I am because we are. We are because I am. I am because you are.

You are because I am.
The essence and spirit is that a person is not successful until their entire community is prosperous.

Similarly, a group cannot claim achievement when there are some individuals wallowing in poverty. The emphasis is on collective success and not individual greatness accomplished at the expense of shared achievement.

Surely, this African wisdom can be leveraged and employed in both corporate and national economic models. Zimbabweans must look within themselves for intellectual empowerment.

In terms of the economic aspects of the new value system, Zimbabweans must embrace entrepreneurship and innovation. We have too many workers and people who are trained to be employed. Let us have more job creators and builders of companies.

Let us teach entrepreneurship and innovation in our schools and universities. Our society must acknowledge, respect and recognise outstanding entrepreneurs. Under the new global economy, talent and innovation are more important than cash.

Hence human capital development culture is key. In particular, we must move from being producers of raw materials to selling refined products.

This means Zimbabwean companies must move up the regional and global value chains. In other words, we must adopt beneficiation and value addition as economic values. It is important to note that it is not in the interest of the rich North, Western or Eastern economic powers to promote beneficiation in Africa. Their preference is for Africa to produce and sell raw materials while they sell refined goods to Africa. Beneficiation will happen in spite of the rich nations.

Africa is on its own with respect to the value addition agenda. In fact, the economically strong will disincentivise Africa from value addition. We must understand why value addition is not happening in Africa in general and in Zimbabwe in particular.

The reasons include the following; pursuit of "easier" trade options, quick buck for corrupt regimes or officials, lack of a clear industrialisation strategy; absence of the enabling and facilitative framework, unfair trade and worshipping the false anti-protectionism gospel.

The following must be done to drive beneficiation; resolve the identified barriers; adopt of value addition driven national vision, strategy, and industrial development plan; delayed gratification, long-term planning, time-line and planning; new technology, new human capital, new cash, new infrastructure, and new mindset. The new mindset with respect to value addition applies across the board.

The Zimbabwean investor, proprietor, the manager and the engineer must have self-belief and confidence that a Zimbabwean company can produce value added products and compete on the global market. The consumer must believe in, and buy manufactured goods. Made in Mbare, made in Dotito, made in Chimanimani, or made in Tsholotsho must not be sources of scorn derived from preconceived perceptions of poor quality.

Even if the quality is not as good as the foreign alternatives, national pride and self-belief must drive us to buy these products and sustain our economy. That is the story of Japan, Malaysia, China and the USA.

In fact, in the early fifties some of the Japanese brands - Sony, Nissan, Toyota and Toshiba - were derided for poor quality. However, the Japanese consumer stood by their poor products and bought them, while their innovators and industrialists improved the quality of the products.

Today the Japanese brands are the respected and sort-after all over the world. The general USA car brands are not the most respected, durable or preferred globally, but the US citizens, government and institutions predominantly buy American.

You will never see a US government official in a Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus, Jaguar, or Rolls Royce - even when they are outside the USA.

If the US president was to use any of these European and Japanese cars, he will probably be prosecuted, convicted and subsequently executed.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, protectionism is not necessarily without merit. In order to effectively pursue value addition Zimbabweans must adopt a value system that embraces smart and innovative protectionism.

As long as there is an plan, strategy and a time-line, protection and incubation of chosen industries has efficacy. In fact most of the countries that have industrialised have engaged protectionism of sorts. Short-term protectionism rooted in strategy, plans ansd time-lines might be necessary.

All industrialised countries engaged some degree of protectionism in their journey to industrialisation.

Africans must disregard conventional wisdom and the Washington consensus on this subject.

Furthermore, on economic matters, Zimbabweans must adopt a value system that interrogates the nature and quality of economic growth. We must seek economic growth which is strong, shared, sustainable, green (low carbon), global (make sense in the region), and produces better quality of life for our people.

We must measure what is called the Global Happiness Index (GHI) and Planet Happiness Index (PHI).

The latter is critical because there is need for climate change mitigation and adaptation, while preservation of the environment is now central. You can have a plan B, but unfortunately there is no Planet B.

Another new economic value we must embrace is with respect to gender. Empowerment of women and equality of the sexes is more than a discourse on human rights. It is not just about morality and righting the wrong of the past. It is all about economics. Women constitute more than 52 percent of the population.

Moreover, new studies find that female managers outshine their male counterparts in almost every measure.

Women have special skills (that men are weak in) such as multi-tasking, caring and nurturing, meticulousness and thoroughness, service excellence, quality & aesthetics, sensitivity, high emotional intelligence (EQ), and high cultural intelligence (CQ).

There is need to leverage and unlock value from the differences between men and women. Diversity is a virtue, if it is creatively embraced.

Hence, when women are empowered in terms of ownership, leadership, and management, the institution is not doing women a favour.

In fact, the organisation is doing itself a favour because there will better results such as productivity and profitability. This is the new world of Womenomics: The Economy as enabled, driven and experienced by women. Empowering women is smart economics, and empowering girls is smarter economics.


Zimbabweans must adopt a new value system that views diversity, in particular women empowerment, as a major strength. We must embrace the empowerment of women because; it makes business sense; there is an economic value proposition, increased GDP & per capita, improved productivity, increased profitability and better performance.

Clearly, empowering women is smart economics, and empowering girls is smarter economics.

Another paradigm we shift in our economic values should be in what motivates business people. We need to move away from the traditional approach where the motivation is making money. Creative linkages between business opportunity and social impact must drive the new economic growth in Africa.

Entrepreneurs and investors must identify a human need and seek to satisfy it, in a strategic framework that seeks to create shared value for business, the community and the environment. The notions of corporate social responsibility and even corporate social investment are now inadequate and obsolete.

We must seek a strategic framework where the social and environmental imperatives are embedded as part of corporate strategy with the motivation to create shared value (benefit) for business, society and the environment. In this way sustainability is guaranteed by embedding it into the business model right from the start.

As an illustrative example - in 1994 - 70 percent of Africans never heard a phone ring. That was a human need which was negatively affecting society and undermining economic development. Mobile telephone companies came in to address the need.

Today 70 percent of Africans have access to telecommunications. The cellphone companies that answered that need such as MTN, Econet, Telecel and Vodacom have made tonnes of cash as a by-product. Another example, 80 percent of our people (Zimbabwe & Africa) have no access to brick and mortar banking, that is, there are no bank branches.

Access to finance and banking facilities are key enablers of social and economic development. This is an economic and human need. Once again creative entrepreneurs such as EcoCash in Zimbabwe and Mpesa in Kenya have come in to satisfy the need. Naturally they are making a lot of money while enabling development in the countries they operate in.

Four weeks ago EcoCash launched a virtual debit card into the market, a first in the whole world! This is the innovative spirit that should define the new economic value system.

What we need is to identify needs in water, energy, sanitation, health, transportation, and agriculture (food security); and link these to business opportunities. That's a paradigm shift in values.

In all these initiatives, Zimbabweans must start measuring different economic metrics. The traditional parameters such as GNP and GDP growth rate are highly inadequate.

We must clearly track per capita income, gini coefficient (measure of income inequality), economic productivity, productivity growth, nature of economic growth, per capita power, social & political issues, national values and spirituality. We must measure the size of the middle class as a percentage of the population, ICT penetration, bandwidth, connectivity, ICT infrastructure, ICT cost and pricing, and ICT competition.

These are the key measures to judge success or failure of African economies. That which is monitored and evaluated, is what influences policy and strategy.

The last set of values that we attend to are around the importance of making globalisation work for us as Zimbabweans, while making the most out of the new advances in science and technology, in particular the ICT revolution. Zimbabweans must say "we are Africans first before we are Zimbabweans".

The nation state is not the best platform of survival under globalisation. Regional blocks EAC, Comesa, Sadc, Magreb, Ecowas are better frameworks to engage globalisation from. Scale, market size, pooling of resources together and regional consensus improve bargaining power immensely. We need regional strategies and policies to effectively respond to world trends and investors.

A collective approach toward investors will improve the benefits derived by African countries. African countries must be discouraged from bilateral deals and arrangements with countries such as China, India or the US. For example, the individual population and GDP metrics of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and even that of South Africa, are not strong enough to individually negotiate with these big economies.

These countries are bound to be short-changed. In fact, SA will only be a meaningful member of the Brics if it is there representing Sadc and Africa.

SA's metrics, compared to those of Brazil, Russia, India, and China; do NOT qualify it as a legitimate member of the Brics. The collective GDPs and populations of Sadc, Comesa, the FTA, and the AU will allow SA to have more leverage and clout in the Brics, thus benefiting SA, the regions and the entire African continent.

In addition to the regional block approach, African countries must organise themselves into value addition industrial cluster, and engage the world through these.

For example, we can define a Diamond Cluster (Zimbabwe, SA, Botswana, Angola, DRC), a Platinum Cluster (Zimbabwe, SA), a Cocoa Cluster (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea), and a Petroleum Cluster (Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal). With the scale, critical and consensus achieved in these clusters, value addition and beneficiation will be commercially viable on the African continent.

The backward and forward linkages to drive beneficiation can then be developed in pursuit of resource-based industrialisation. African economies can this way move up global value chains, yielding employment, incomes, and economic growth. Beyond the regional block and the value addition cluster strategies, a continental approach must be pursued. There must be an Africa-wide strategy, AU and Nepad driven perspective.

The collective GDP and overall population of Africa present an even stronger bargaining framework in the deals with the world. Continental policies, strategies and terms of reference must be developed. We must aspire to have negotiations with investors carried out at the level of the AU. That will be ultimate bargaining power derived from a holistic and complete African consensus rooted in the pooling together of all African economic assets and markets.

To augment and operationalise this strategy, first class regional and continental infrastructure must be designed and constructed to facilitate integration, in particular, intra-Africa trade and investment. New funding models must be structured to finance these regional and continental projects.

One area that clearly requires Africa-wide consensus is reform of the continent's laws governing natural resources, in particular oil, gas and mineral laws.

Most of these laws are colonial and apartheid provisions that do not ascribe any intrinsic value to the un-mined asset. Resource claims are given to the investor for free or for a nominal fee. The investors then go and list these assets on foreign stock exchanges and borrow billions against the claims.

This is criminal.
At independence African States changed political and social laws, not economic ones. Geological surveys and exploration must be carried out so that Africa's complete mineralisation and quantification thereof are established. Fair value must be assigned to the un-mined resource, where this wealth belongs to ordinary citizens. Discovery of a natural resource in a country by an explorer or investor should not translate to ownership of the asset. The investor must pay up-front for this value of the resource still underground, leading to the establishment of sovereign wealth funds (SWF). Only this way can the generality of African people benefit from the continent's abundant natural resources. African consensus on these new natural resource laws will mitigate against the foreign investor, Eastern or Western, from playing one African country against the other.

It is instructive to observe that Western countries such as Norway, Canada and Australia have actually implemented similar SWF based natural resource laws. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. This is what should inform the new value system

We must have a culture that embrace advanced science and technology including (1) Nanotechnology (2) Biotechnology (3) Neuroscience (4) ICTs (5) Cloud Computing (6) Big Data (7) Robotics and Mechatronic.

We should neither fear nor fight technology. Let us use technology and science to address our socio-political-economic challenges.

Where technology presents potential dangers and risks, the solution is to devise mitigation plans and mechanism.

We should never drop the use of a technology because of fear of the unknown. With technological innovations, FDR was right the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

Of course there are disruptive technologies which completely revolutionise products, sectors, and industries. Zimbabweans must embrace these with both hands, as part of creative destruction.

The culture should be innovate or die. Obviously, the ICT revolution is not compatible with dictatorship, media control and thought control. One has to use ICTs to promote their views. Information control is no longer sustainable under globalisation and the ICT revolution.

The Impact of a technology embracing culture is illustrated in the work of (1) Agriculture (AGRA) (2) Banking (mpesa, ecocash) (3) Biotechnology (seeds) (4) Robots (mining, agriculture, ports) (5) Education (platform, content, global access) (6) e-Health, remote surgery, access.

Impact of ICT is illustrated by the fact that an increase of cellphone penetration by 10 percent leads to Increase of GDP by 1 percent.

As we conclude, let us learn from the world on the significance of an empowering value system. When we look at successful economies part of their secret to success is rooted in a winning value system; Japan (innovation, hard work, planning, technology, consistency), China (hard work, long hours, discipline, focus, scale), USA (creativity, innovation, technology, competitiveness, enquiry) and Singapore (strategic thinking, planning, innovation, education). We must draw lessons about the significance of values from these countries, while appreciating that we already have rich tradition of great values we are nationally, regionally and globally known for such as hard work, determination, perseverance, entrepreneurship, respect for history, national pride and self-determination.

What is critical is to fortify and continue to leverage these values we already have, while expanding our national value system to embracing the new ethos fleshed out and articulated in this presentation.

It is important that Zimbabweans build and adopt this new value system which will be the foundation of our unique Zimbabwean economic model anchored in a shared national vision, in pursuit of sustainable development.

Professor Arthur G.O. Mutambara is the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He delivered this address at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair International Business Conference last week. 

Source - zimpapers
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