Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE needs to manage its brand imaging properly as this has a huge bearing on the country’s ability to attract investment and developing its economy, a senior Government official said.
Speaking during a stakeholders consultative meeting on nation branding in Bulawayo on Wednesday, senior principal director in the Office of the President and Cabinet Ambassador Mary Mubi said negative public attitude and perception has a bad effect on a country’s image.
“Why manage the country’s image? We cannot afford to be isolated, we are a global player. That means countries are competing.
“We are benchmarking against others in the same way that brands do and it becomes very important that we manage the country’s image and ensure it becomes a powerful brand. We need to compete,” she said.
Amb Mubi said Zimbabwe was part of the global village hence it needs to be competitive in specific sectors of the economy.
“We need to be competitive every time but more often we are not able to do that because we are not competing,” she said, adding that a country’s brand needs special management in order to foster tourism, investment and enhancing exports,” she said.
In the past, Amb Mubi said, Zimbabwe has endured negative perception and this has affected the foreign direct investment and tourist arrivals in the country.
“Our image has to be managed and rooted in reality . . . people’s wrong attitude and perception of our country will largely affect the country’s image.
“We are suddenly seeing an emergence of Zimbabwe internationally because those who were fighting very hard against us are becoming few. If you look at the media now, there are not so many negative stories about the country. We are beginning to emerge,” she said.
Amb Mubi said Zimbabweans should take advantage of the negative image the country has encountered and turn it into a positive.
In a key note address read by the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavima, Engineer Walter Mzembi who is the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry said:
“The management of Zimbabwe’s image especially in the rapidly globalising world is a very big issue for our country. Looking at the ongoing activities of the nation branding projects, I am very enthused by the fact that the two initial stakeholders workshops in Bulawayo have sparked a very considerable interest in the project.
“My ministry is carrying out this mandate with the full knowledge that at some appropriate point in time, this function will be deposited in a national body that is empowered to effectively coordinate and control the various sectors and ministries that play a major role in national image management.”