HARARE – Francis Nhema, the new Youth, Indigenisation and Economic empowerment minister has come up with refreshing statements on indigenisation where he seems to be advocating for a sober approach to the programme.
Nhema’s bold statement last week that the programme should not take the dangerous “one-size-fits-all” approach sharply contradicts the tactics used by his predecessor, Savior Kasukuwere, whose bullying tactics caused mayhem in the programme.
In the wake of this fresh thinking and new realisation, government has distanced itself from the chaotic one-size-fits all template which had seen many investors chickening out of Zimbabwe.
Nhema told a CZI conference in Bulawayo that the one-size-fits-all model does not work and he seems to be moderating his approach where Kasukuwere was unrelenting.
We applaud this new approach which seems to be receiving good vibes from the industry and the general public.
While the programme as a whole has been largely discredited due to the way it was being implemented, Nhema’s sober approach should also bring some confidence in the economy.
By shifting from Kasukuwere’s head-on approach, Nhema has shown that he is being pragmatic and we have reason to believe that he will be more successful in the ministry than Kasukuwere.
What needs to be understood, which the previous regime in the ministry did not appreciate was that the indigenisation programme requires a good grasp of finance, economics and diplomacy.
Nhema seems bent on using all these to achieve success because the programme is difficult to sell to would be investors.
Nhema has a bit of experience in this area having in the past owned a bank, being a diplomat and an economist.
The biggest weapon needed in implementing indigenisation is soberness.
It must be pointed out that soberness is not a weakness. Soberness means that one has to carefully read the situation on the ground and calculate and not create unnecessary enemies over implementation of the programme.
Nhema must also make sure that he listens to advice because indigenisation is a real tricky programme which can damage our country’s image.
As Nhema rightly pointed out, the emphasis should not be really “go and get this existing company” but rather “start your own company.”
This is the right direction being taken by the new Indigenisation minister because this new government cannot afford to make the costly mistakes of yesterday.