The Zim-SA Forum has unveiled a new committee with a mandate to consolidate efforts to promote economic development and drive investment into Zimbabwe, from South Africa and the diaspora.
The forum held its inaugural meeting and endorsement event at the Zimbabwe embassy in Pretoria this week, and announced plans for the official public launch of the Zim-SA Forum, scheduled for early October at a venue to be finalised.
ZimSA Forum secretary General Dr Shingi Mutanga told skynewszimbabwe.com that the forum is an amalgamation of like-minded Zimbabweans who are committed to harnessing the collective power of Zimbabweans who want to bring changes to investing, and investments in Zimbabwe.
“We appreciate that there has been other forums that have come before ours, and that many other Zimbabweans, professionals and non-professionals, have been trying to speak with one voice on the problems that face our country.
“The critical question to ask is: what are the main issues that are blocking investment into Zimbabwe, and if all of us came together for a common cause and say: this is the Zimbabwe that we want, and this is how we are taking the lead in what we want to see changed, then definitely we will reach those goals,” said Dr Mutanga.
He added: “This is the beginning of a journey that seeks to empower, facilitate investment opportunities and strive to build a better future for us all. Whether people believe in sanctions or not, the truth is that Zimbabwe needs all its citizens to consolidate all efforts to deal with the challenges facing us.”
Following a visit by President Robert Mugabe to South Africa last year in which Zimbabwe and South Africa identified opportunities in mining, water, energy, infrastructure development, transport, information communication technologies, clothing and textile, financial services and pharmaceuticals, a steering committee for the South Africa-Zimbabwe Business Forum was established.
However newspapers reported at the time that there had been a slow implementation of the 35 bilateral agreements which were signed over the years between Zimbabwe and South Africa, causing the trade balance to be in favour of South Africa.
In 2014, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe amounted to R24.8 billion, while Zimbabwe’s exports to South Africa reached R2 billion.
The two countries have long believed that the economic relations between them have the potential to grow beyond their current levels.
Subsequently the 2015 steering committee which comprised of nearly 15 members was dissolved and Mr Gift Nhikitiki, who has been leading efforts to restructure and refocus trade activities between the two countries, introduced the new executive which was appointed to take the new forum forward.
Businessman Anele Ndlovu was named as President of the Zim-SA Forum, with media personality Yvonne Katsande as the Vice-President. Dr Mutanga was named as secretary general, his deputy is Lazarus Paringa, the treasurer general is Bakani Ngulani and the investment executive is Godfrey Fungurani. Gift Nhikitiki and Kennedy Mandaza make up the team of advisers.
The team and forum initiative was endorsed by Zimbabwe’s Deputy Ambassador to South Africa, Robert Muranga who remarked and emphasised the important role of the Zimbabwean business community in South Africa, and the potential for the diaspora in driving economic development.
Gift Nhikitiki, Anele Ndlovu, Shingi Mutanga, Bakani Ngulani, Juliet Gonah, Peter Awali, Joseph Sidogi, Lazarus Paringa, Yvonne Katsande, Godfrey Fungurani, Kennedy Mandaza
Gift Nhikitiki addresses the delegates at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria
Deputy Ambassador Robert Muranga keeps tabs on the proceedings at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria
Mr Anele Ndlovu meets some of the delegates at the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria
Yvonne Katsande, Dumisani Sibanda, Dr Shingi Mutanga and some of the delegates