SOUTH African business executive, Peter Moyo, says Zimbabwean entrepreneurs should spearhead political change to create an economic environment ideal for national prosperity.
Zimbabwean-born Moyo, the managing director of Alexander Forbes (So
uth Africa), last week said there was a lot business could do to prod the government into getting the country on the road to recovery.
He said Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown was not only a test for the Zanu PF government, but also for all the people of Zimbabwe.
“It is a test for all the business people of Zimbabwe,” Moyo told company executives gathered at a reception to honour companies that excelled in their line of business at the Zimbabwe Independent’s annual Quoted Companies Survey.
“Zimbabwean businesses and the Zimbabwean people have more to lose than politicians. In business for change to happen there must be a burning platform.
There is already a burning platform in Zimbabwe. So change is inevitable.”
The former executive of Old Mutual said business had a role to play in changing the culture of doing things in Zimbabwe.
“I think it is time business got involved in the political set-up in the country. Look at the Jews in the US; they always get what they want irrespective of the party in power.
They are involved,” he said.
Moyo warned that the change needed for business to thrive meant the emergence of a new crop of people that were not tainted, people that were not going to be doing it for their image, but authentic leaders.
“We know in business that there are situations that require total change, not an incremental change. Reversing what we have done and where we are is not going to get us back to where we ought to be,” Moyo said.
Moyo drew parallels between South Africa and Zimbabwe, saying the country’s politics and economy were too precious to be left to politicians alone. Some of the most successful changes witnessed in South Africa had been those where business had taken the lead, Moyo said.
He said the financial sector charter was led and managed by business from beginning to end.
When government initially drafted the mining charter, businessmen were not involved.
It almost went awry. Fortunately business leaders got involved and the mining charter today works for all.
Zimbabwean business executives have often heaped unquestioned praise on the ruling elite for economic recovery programmes without an in-depth analysis of the implications.
Some business executives, fearful of losing lucrative government contracts, have sheepishly lavished praise, but have complained behind closed doors that government policies are skewed.
Moyo said like a company undergoing change, it was a new vision that Zimbabwe needed.
“The world has moved and Zimbabwe has gone backwards. To catch up, the country needs drastic change,” he said.
“Unfortunately the change that one is talking about in Zimbabwe is not the change from a calf into a cow but the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly.
We in business know that when you talk about this kind of change, you need a total rethink, you need fresh ideas, you need in most cases new people.”