Exactly two months after Botswana President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi paid a courtesy call to Harare that gave us so much hope for better economic co-operation and future, the gentleman has just shown us the true meaning of the very old adage: “Every man for himself and God for us all.” This week, he told everyone who cared to listen that his country was the best investment destination, unlike some unnamed African country where investors kiss their money goodbye if they were foolish enough to invest there. It would appear, he was subtly referring to his neighbour Zimbabwe.
“I will not name that country; would you rather have your business headquartered in country X somewhere else in Africa or in Botswana? In terms of assuring yourself that what you put in the bank is yours and will be there, and in the terms of assuring your creditors that you will be able to pay them in whatever currency they need to be paid in; so these advantages should be utilised to the fullest,” Masisi told investors, among them our very own son of the soil, Strive Masiyiwa.
Our take from this very open and frank message is that we are all alone and we need to really put our act together if investors out there, who include our own sons and daughters, are going to take us seriously. We should start working on what Masisi has seen as our biggest challenge that is driving away potential investors.
But there is no price for guessing who the unnamed country is! In our view, we should not see Masisi’s denigrating of our investment climate as an act of stabbing us in the back, but as very good advice. In alerting us to our weakness, Masisi has been a true brother and we should seriously work on our shortcomings to lift ourselves from the socio-economic doldrums that we have thrust ourselves into.
We can easily turn our weaknesses into strengths if we unite and start realising that in this world, we are all alone and that no one will ever lift us from the bottom of the pit. We are all alone folks and when the chips are down, as they are now, we need to put politics aside and start thinking nationhood.
Political parties and their ideologies have got us this far.
All we need to show investors, be they local or foreign — big or small — is that we are an honest nation with the real desire to prosper as a people. The first thing we need is for our leaders to cut down on their excesses, because investors will think twice before bringing their money into a country where there are a lot of overindulgences. When our leaders and their families, for example, flaunt the latest and most expensive vehicles on the planet, such as Lamborghinis, in a country with such abject poverty, it would be difficult to convince an investor that his or her money would be safe.