The country's national brand is how others view the country. It is a very important concept these days of a global village reality; there are some who still hold the global village with contempt because they view it as a first world conspiracy, a sinister occurrence whilst at the same time they submit themselves to a lot of un-necessary theorizing and intellectual discourse of swimming against the tide.
Whilst I would not want to build blocks on this important discourse, because to do so will be to tantamount to summarize and conclude on an international discourse thus it will limit my understanding, to my preconceived ideas, I would like to submit that globalization is now a reality and people must not fear it but harness it and opportunities that come with it.
Globalisation implies that there is free flow of resources; among them information, people and factors of production because the world will by then be viewed as a huge interconnected village. Sovereignty will be relevant to a lesser extent because the conceptual underpinnings of sovereignty, such as patriotism, nationalism, in some instance tribalism will have been expanded to be so inclusive to include the international people and community.
The issue of the diminished sovereignty (a min-state) is the base of the contestation and debate because it is a widely accepted view that people will then be abused by the rich or left to the whims of capitalism, a euphemism for the evil market forces that are popularly undesirable.
It is imperative that national strategy formulation, evaluation and implementation must then take into consideration this real phenomenon in order to harness opportunities in globalization.
South Africa and Egypt are among the African countries to first embrace a national business plan (or national marketing plan). This is a rallying document, which has a unique nationally inclusive objective of improving the quality of life of the citizens of the concerned country.
Politicians, Academics, Civil society, Government departments, key Ministries and other important national stakeholders drive the national business plan based on the principle of the social contract where people have to surrender their interest in order to pursue national goals (but not to be abused).
The value of the National business plan is that State actors and non-state actors where ever they are they then act in support of the unique uniting objective of improvement of the national quality of life of all citizens.
The purported issues of sabotage, conspiracy and other issues against the attainment of supreme national goals will now be distinguishable and critical success factors for a successful national business plan are a strong governance system, a democratic culture, a non-corrupt culture and other important variables that I will not mention because my subject is about the Zimbabwe brand, it is thus imperative that I narrow my argument to democracy, a contentious issue which undermines the Zimbabwean brand.
The question that we should ask ourselves is to what extent is the Zimbabwean brand violated? What constitute violation of the national brand objective? A statement made by Germany's Angela Merkel triggered me; he referred to Zimbabwe as damaging the image of Africa.
Foreign and domestic Investment is centered on the ability to make sustained profits in a business venture that makes sense though in some cases investors may invest for speculative purposes (i.e. projected change of government-post Mugabe era).
Given our brand ranking on the global place, it is also possible to conclude that the socio-economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe is damaging to the Zimbabwean brand firstly in terms of economic strategy and planning, observance of property rights, observance of freedom and the counter publicity generated by frustrated concerned foreigners, citizens and the international community.
The negative publicity that we enjoy then becomes the base to which everything Zimbabwean must be devalued; Knowledge and skills, its people, its culture etc. this is then projected on the global place as a definition of Zimbabwe and to some extent Africa.
I would like to postulate that this becomes the bases by which thousands if not millions of Zimbabweans, who are domiciled in foreign lands, become abused and viewed as a people undermining peace and tranquility, criminals, prostitutes despite a few isolated cases, which are genuine.
The negative publicity then militates against talent, knowledge, skills, moral and ethical uprightness to which we submit to and were socialized to as Zimbabweans. Our weakness has been the failure to stop the violation of the Zimbabwean brand by the ZANU PF brand.
I wish to put it on record that the behaviour of the ruling party ZANU PF does not necessarily define and constitute a Zimbabwean brand, but investors and the global citizens should ignore it as a lapse in governance and an abuse of the peoples mandate, an anti-people doctrine.
The international community must be kept rest assured that Zimbabweans are sober, intelligent and sane people who are not people who are defined by neither the current Zimbabwe brand nor the ZANU PF brand.
I wish to submit that Zimbabwe is richly endowed with natural resources and people of a rare and unique usefulness. The international community should discard a few malcontents damaging our national brand, be they criminals, social outcasts, Politicians and pro-dictatorship elements to the dustbins of history as evil having temporarily overpowered and triumphed over good.
Hillary Kundishora is a scholar of strategic management. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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