Thandiwe Katinhimure, Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE requires an economic model that empowers communities to develop businesses and create jobs within their immediate environment, National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Vice Chancellor, Professor Mqhele Dlodlo, has said.
Such an approach will enhance local capacity development and wealth creation in a sustainable manner, he added.
Speaking during a financial literacy training workshop for traditional leaders facilitated by Homelink Finance in Bulawayo yesterday, Prof Dlodlo said rural communities should be part of the economic transformation drive hence traditional leaders need to be empowered to be forces of that economic change.
“You must strive to create environments that are conducive to sustainable business development and entrepreneurship, which in turn will enhance the quality of life in rural communities,” he said.
According to Prof Dlodlo, the drive to transform the economy under the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra has to be buttressed by a vibrant community-based value chain systems that provide answers towards alleviating poverty through developing community businesses.
Prof Dlodlo said improved quality of life in rural communities will alleviate social challenges such as rural to urban migration, illiteracy, poverty, child marriages, prostitution and domestic violence. He said if chiefs played their role to inspire their communities to partake in economic development, more would be accomplished as leaders bear responsibility for creating much richer legacy for the future generations.
“While a lot more needs to be done, it is my fervent hope that this workshop will set out a roadmap that will open and facilitate the entrepreneurship pillars of opportunity recognition, opportunity exploitation and other business investment possibilities before us,” said Prof Dlodlo.
He said the so-called developed world was once poor like Zimbabwe but adopted innovative ways of developing its societies and improving its wellbeing through modern farming among other growth enhancers.
The Nust Vice Chancellor said the major problem in Zimbabwe was that people in rural areas lack encouragement and knowledge on how to effectively engage in business activities. If people are encouraged to utilise their resources well, the country is guaranteed an economic boom, he said.
“All we need is the drive to continue looking for what will work in our communities. Therefore, while it would be difficult to arrive, let us travel resolutely and well, not because we can help it, but because we have the zeal and internal motivation to succeed,” he said.