Zimbabwe Businesses Urged to Innovate for Growth and Sustainability

Minister July Moyo speaks at the Emcoz annual congress in Kariba, calls for continuous learning and improvement.

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe’s Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare Minister July Moyo has challenged businesses to embrace innovation and creativity as key drivers of economic development and recovery. Speaking at the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) annual congress in Kariba on Thursday, Moyo said businesses that fail to adapt to the changing environment and leverage on new technologies would not grow or survive.

Moyo said the country was facing many challenges and uncertainties such as the effects of climate change, technological disruptions, and geo-political dynamics, which require proactive and resilient responses from the business sector. He said businesses need to adopt a mindset of continuous learning and improvement and foster a culture of innovation and creativity.

“We need to leverage our strength and comparative advantages and diversify our sources of growth and income. We need to enhance our productivity and competitiveness and increase value addition and benefit beneficiation. We also need to promote inclusive and sustainable development and ensure that no one and no place is left behind,” he said.

Moyo said the government was committed to supporting the private sector as the engine of growth and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. He said the government had implemented various policy reforms and initiatives to improve the ease of doing business, attract investment, and promote industrialization.

He cited the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), which is the country’s economic blueprint for 2021-2025, as a framework that guides the government and the private sector in achieving the vision of an upper middle-income economy by 2030. He said the NDS1 prioritizes innovation, digitalization, and modernization as key enablers of economic transformation and resilience.

Moyo also highlighted the importance of investing in research and development (R&D) and enhancing the capacity and skills of the workforce to meet the demands of emerging industries and technologies. He said the government had established innovation hubs and industrial parks across the country’s major tertiary institutions to incubate and commercialize ideas and innovations.

He said labor was a vital factor of production and a source of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He urged businesses to recognize the value of labor and invest in continuous skills development and training. He also called for improved labor relations and social dialogue among employers, workers, and the government to foster a conducive and harmonious working environment.

Moyo’s remarks come at a time when Zimbabwe is experiencing a modest economic recovery after years of stagnation and decline. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow by 6% in 2021, after contracting by 8% in 2020, mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought.

However, the country still faces significant challenges such as high inflation, foreign currency shortages, low domestic savings, limited access to credit, weak governance and institutional capacity, and social and political instability. The IMF has urged the government to implement comprehensive and coherent reforms to address these challenges and unlock the country’s potential.

Emcoz president Demos Mbauya applauded the government for implementing policies that resulted in some measure of stability in the market over the past six months. He said the stability in the exchange rate had allowed businesses to cost and predict pricing and remuneration more effectively. He also commended the government for the successful vaccination program against COVID-19, which has seen over 3 million people receiving their first dose as of October 1, 2021.

The Emcoz annual congress, which ends today, is running under the theme, “Adapting to a changing landscape – towards sustainable economic and business growth”. The congress brings together business leaders, policymakers, experts, and stakeholders to discuss and share ideas on how to navigate the challenges and opportunities in the current and post-COVID-19 era.

Source: NewsDay

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