Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
GOVERNMENT says every citizen has a critical role to play in the country’s rebranding exercise whose aim is to market Zimbabwe and enhance socio-economic development.
The Government recently embarked on a massive rebranding exercise where each of the country’s 10 provinces was tasked to come up with innovative ways of building an image that will translate to a national brand.
Last week, Matabeleland North province held an all-stakeholders meeting involving the private sector, Government departments and other stakeholders in Victoria Falls to strategise on how to rebrand the province with participants calling for concerted efforts towards turning the resource-rich province into the country’s eco-tourism heartbeat.
The province has since come up with a taskforce headed by the Provincial Administrator which has sub-committees such as infrastructure and utilities, economic and governance, immigration and investment, culture and heritage, geography and tourism, projects, programmes and schemes, media and packaging as well as social sciences, education, health and welfare.
The media and packaging committee is in the process of collating data to be used to market the province through a website and other media fora.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Minister, Cde Cain Mathema, challenged all stakeholders to work together to market the province.
“The Government ordered all the country’s 10 provinces to come up with marketing strategies in line with the Government’s position that Zimbabwe is open for business. This is the first time we are meeting and other provinces are doing the same.
“Zimbabwe is in a new era and we all need to think outside the box. The province must come up with a brand and this provincial brand must be a product of all stakeholders including individuals and local authorities as well as government departments,” he said.
Minister Mathema challenged local investors to take a leading role in investing in the province and said they should also be the province’s ambassadors who will assist in convicing foreign investors to come to the province.
Explaining the branding concept, deputy director for Provincial Affairs in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Tapera Mugoriya said the idea of engaging stakeholders was to come up with a synergised provincial communication platform as part of measures to open the province for business.
“Government deliberately took the initiative to brand Zimbabwe and so branding the province will also have a direct impact on the socio-economic development.
“We want to unlock the province’s business potential by marketing the resources that we have that investors could expploit for our benefit,” he said.
Participants implored the Government to address bottlenecks such as bureaucracy, centralisation and tittle deeds among others, which they said scare away investors.
Officials from different local authorities urged Government to urgently address the issue of title deeds which they said was scaring away investors who end up preferring to partner urban councils elsewhere.
Victoria Falls Municipality Town Clerk Mr Ronnie Dube said the local authority had come up with strategies to circumvent the challenge hence it was able to approve investment appliocations within a short period of time.