Globalisation has opened up the world and re-written the rules of the interactive game between nation-states. It is now certain that Nation-states are winding down or assuming a mini-state and submitting to become region-states, made up of several nation states with unique uniting objectives mostly aimed at amassing economic wealth and power. Consequently sovereignty and patriotism are now irrelevant and no longer fixed to a specific location and people respectively, and there are prospects of the extension of these two to be inclusive of the whole globe.
There is now more competition for investment and trade than before especially with the emergence of emerging markets and that the developed world is now entering a post-industrial era. It is now more imperative than before that Africa re-defines its agenda for development in the face of mounting competition and this raises an important crucial and compelling case of the re-branding of African states so that Africa can get its fair share of foreign direct investments, trade (exports and imports) and sovereign wealth funds for the betterment of the quality of life and prosperity of their own people.
Africa has lost significant investments opportunities because of negative perceptions on it given the rise of the emerging markets such as India, Singapore and China to name a few. Africa remains plagued by self induced wars and violence, leadership succession problems, corruption, bad and exaggerated publicity, diseases, poverty, economic fundamentals in disarray, and consequently the African brand has been negatively defined by these ills as a highly risk brand. The increasing decline in official development aid, charity and the significant loss of the relevance and confidence in the Washington consensus as a remedy to problems of third world nations has stirred an urgent need to revisit exports, Foreign direct investments (FDI) and of late sovereign wealth funds (SWF) as possible viable avenues to meet Africa's development agendas.
The Anholt National Brand Index Special Report-Q (2007) defines a national brand "as how others see the country". It goes in-depth to suggest that globalisation means competition and thus a strong brand provides a competing edge for positioning the country to get a fair share of the world's cake.
The report further posits that the level of exports, people, governance, tourism, culture and heritage, immigration and investments measures the brand. In the case of Zimbabwe all the other six indicators are a consequent of the state of governance, and thus governance is more defining for brand Zimbabwe than any other indicator. And it urgently compels that Zimbabwe re-position itself through embracing proper governance in order to build an attraction in the international marketplace, which is a heaven for safe, secure and liberated investments. This will allow other brand measures to achieve a positive status.
Though it is not debatable that no country can survive, address colonial injustice and prosper by allowing free rein of the market. In particular for developing countries where there is lack of institutional mechanisms and a mature private sector necessary for the smooth running of a market economy. It is critical that we build a competitive economy that espouses the values of at least a mixed economy philosophy if we are to secure a resilient and value delivering economy.
The regulations as such vary from country to country but as for Zimbabwe, the economy remains an over-regulated economy that does not value the rule of law and natural justice-especially security by all definitions and in its broadest sense. This points to governance systems, processes, structures and the underlying philosophy as damaging to the national brand.
The state of the rule of law and natural justice in Zimbabwe leaves a lot to be desired only if one could look back to cite several cases and speculate on more to come if the present trend is to continue. This inevitably raises three fairly recent critical issues on policy bankruptcy and policy inconsistency but directly connected to the rule of law; the seizure and threat on private peoples assets, the denial of people's cash by banks and the price slash operation carried out last year, which has left many businesses empty and struggling.
The policy bankruptcy and policy inconsistency continues mainly targeted at private interests notwithstanding the reality that private investment is the engine for economic growth and a development priority to governments the world over. Zimbabwe lacks fair and collaborative market polices to encourage investors and consequently this has led to the dearth of foreign investments and as such like a naughty 'child' we have always dogged the limelight for the wrong reasons.
The threat of seizure of mining assets is still pending especially if the results of the forthcoming general election sway in the favour of the ruling party given that we are highly informed by well placed government sources that the bill authorising the expropriation and the forceful take over of equities in mining firms will be resuscitated by the next government after its lapse. The rational of the bill raises other important parallels connected to the seizure of white owned farms and the expropriation of other black owned individual's balance sheets.
It authorises indigenous born individuals and government to take over mining assets worth over US $ 20 billion, which for a rapidly shrinking economy such as Zimbabwe seems impossible to accomplish because we are incapable of paying the market value for the equity. Approximately US $ 11 billion will be required to pay off the market equivalent of the mining assets by government and indigenous born entrepreneurs this points to the fact that proponents of the mining legislation are informed by the same philosophy which inspired the farm seizures and expropriation of other black peoples assets.
How then can we succeed in placing Zimbabwe as an attraction for safe and secure investments on the international place when we are busy scheming to undermine property rights? Can we continue to entrust our destiny and those of generations to come to a leadership that does not value or manipulates the rule of law to favour its interests remotely connected to national interests?
This calls on Zimbabwe to implement more sustainable business friendly and nationally inclusive policies in order to position itself in the face of stiff global competition. Nations also behave like possible suitors in social life no one wants to engage a suitor who cannot be his/her romantic and emotional curator, and instead the suitor threatens him/her with decimations and as such Zimbabwe has remained isolated from the world of international business.
The presents of an election calls on all responsible citizens to vote for aspirants whose vision aspire for Zimbabwe to go back to the basics-embracing the rule of law by valuing and upholding the constitution not to make laws that contradict it i.e. Constitutional Amendment Number 17 that sets aside the re-instatement and contestations of expropriated land by courts of law.
Zimbabwe should re-position itself as a hospitable rainbow nation that values investors of all origins, and as a nation that harnesses foreign direct investment and sovereign wealth funds in the face of dwindling foreign aid. And our exports can only sell on the global place provided our producers are given a conducive atmosphere for production. Building a competitive business environment should remain a priority if we are to achieve prosperity and excellent quality of life for our people. And forever our competitive strength remains the K-economy; Zimbabwe's trainable and educated professionals.
Hillary Kundishora is a scholar of strategic management. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org and join more discourse on other various articles about vision prosperity at www.zimchaiyo.blogspot.com.