Zimbabwe should reduce politicking and amplify economics for the country to enter the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with champion products, the CEO Africa Roundtable has said.
The AfCFTA came into force at the beginning of this year with the aim of creating a continental market for goods and services and free movement of investments and businesspersons.
It is expected to boost intra-Africa trade through harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation and facilitation instruments across the regional economic communities and across Africa in general.
The AfCFTA is also expected to enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploitation of opportunities for scaling up production, continental markets access and better allocation of resources.
The CEO Roundtable chairman, Oswell Binha told Business Times yesterday on the sidelines of a media briefing ahead of the upcoming 2020 CEO Africa Roundtable edition slated for October 27 to 29, 2021 in the resort town of Victoria Falls, that the economic environment has remained depressed and it was critically important for Zimbabwe to ‘amplify economics rather than politicking’.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to officially open the conference in Victoria Falls as well as presenting the CEO Roundtable Awards.
Binha said Zimbabweans have to “recast their mast towards productivity and economic development to alleviate poverty”.
“Zimbabwe politics has been top of the range in terms of politicking in the region. It has sort of disintegrated our collective efforts towards the things that matter. And things that matter put food on the people’s table. These are issues to do with economics,” Binha told Business Times.
“While we are looking at these, we must not lose sight of the fact that we have got a bigger market that has just opened, which is the AfCTA).”
He added: “In that particular market, there are going to be casualties and Zimbabwe must not be one of the statistics and casualties. We need to go back to our drawing board. Reduce politicking and amplify economics so that we get our comparative advantage, define our competitive edge and robust into this market with our champion products, with our champion brands. The stakeholder mapping that has been done shows that Zimbabwe needs collective effort towards competitiveness in the AfCFTA. We need to start locating at the centre of global value chains. That’s my big message.”
The country’s CEOs are expected to debate on the AfCFTA in Victoria Falls.
At least 300 physical and 500 virtual participants, including corporate CEOs, financial advisors, financiers, investors, insurers and wealth managers, senior government officials and industry sector specialists, among others, are expected to attend this year’s CEO Roundtable conference.
Kipson Gundani, executive director at the CEO Africa Roundtable, who also spoke at the press briefing yesterday, said more than 200 delegates have so far registered.
He, however, expects more to come on board.
The event, which will run under the theme ‘Charting the recovery curve-Building momentum, crashing barriers, creating impact’ is coming at a time when fears of an overturned marketplace are growing.
It also comes as business leaders are revamping their corporate purposes to allow their organisations to come up with solutions to the many problems they face.
They are also accelerating their digital transformation and working to ensure their talent pipelines can adapt to the new demands.
The deadly Covid-19 has also redefined leadership.
For many, uncertainty caused by the pandemic is the only certainty.
This has forced many corporate leaders to recalibrate their priorities.
They are now focusing on what matters most.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Sekai Nzenza, the RBZ governor John Mangudya, the commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining at the Africa Union Commission, Albert Muchanga, UNIDO South Africa representative, El Mekwad Khaled and Sibongile Sambo, the founder and managing director of SRS Aviation, and Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, are some of the high-powered speakers expected at the conference.