By Brian Sedze
Without change of government’s way of leading the economy, its system of governance of closely-controlled economy, Zimbabwe continue to be a goblin economy that creates goblin-induced wealth.
Goblin-induced wealth is impossible or very difficult to pass on to the next generation. Tales of leading businesspeople who are said to have been buried with their wealth are plenty and in African myths or tales or truth it is ascribed to wealth created by goblins. The goblin business in Zimbabwe survives and prosper on networks rather than service and/or product excellence. Zero competence and full tank of networks. The bigger the network goblin the more wealth is created.
In Zimbabwe business success is a loyalty-based not a competence-based system. Success is because of a network which unfortunately can’t be passed on to the next generation. It’s a who you know and not what you know society. The bigger the “who” goblin the more wealth is created.
Zimbabwe wealth creation depends on who when it comes to access to capital, governance and leadership positions, tenders and supply contracts, import and export documentation, licensing and permits, government and central bank debt assumptions, rights to natural resources, inputs and mechanisations, lobbying for favourable statutory instruments, access to foreign currency and security of tenure on land. These are basically company and family heads network which the businessperson can’t pass on to the next generation on old age or demise. Our goblin wealth is a danger for the future and in building a sustainable business ecosystem.
Our current corporate governance system often has little or nothing to do with competence but depends on some goblins in society, in politics and in business. This means there are no proper succession plans, coaching and mentoring because there are no key skills, knowledge and abilities to pass on to the younger corporate leaders.
An example in finance and economics the job purpose often includes cash management, investment, capital budgeting, forecasting, interest rate and inflation planning, exchange rates, import and export documentation. None of these apply in Zimbabwe in expected format of university education or acquired competencies apply to many fields that leaders have no key skills and abilities they can mentor and coach. It applies to many professions just like in finance and economics.
The biggest skill for any corporate challenge is solved not by ingenuity but by “go see so and so person” to enable quick access to any product or service. Our wealth creation is a selfish excursion of the entrepreneurs. No effort at developing solid, robust, free and equitable institutions.
We are generally a corrupt society at individual, household or juristic person level. This corruption is the value we shall bequeath to the future generation who now see our corrupt tendencies as the norm.
We make our “things” move faster from a very simple issue like a queue, police, passports, school vacancies, housing waiting list, fiscal authorities, debt assumption, land acquisition and retention, government hospital access, border and fiscal systems and so forth. Of course, we frown at the “more corrupt” because they have access to the bigger goblins in the corridors of power. Often our anger is the desire for some among us to eat too from the corrupt system.
The country has a whole lot of industries that were created and are in existence because of chaos. Chaos created industries will die with founders. The chaos is caused by the foreign currency auction system lie, multiple exchange rates, shortages, complex government systems, failure to increase digitisation speed, lax internal control systems, import and export bottlenecks, old boys’ networks, lobbyist industrialists and corruption.
The idea of a better Zimbabwe with sustainable business models should be to devote time to develop a competence-based system away from a loyalty-based system. This will enable
robust institutions that can deliver a remarkable standard of living to those who work hard and smart.