The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Women’s Desk (ZNCC-WD) was established in 2013, after realization that women were not taking part in mainstream business member organizations. The main objective of the Women’s Desk (WD) is to help women create or scale up their businesses and to assist women to grow in their chosen professions. The WD is focused, on adding value to the chamber’s mandate, by ensuring that the business potential of women entrepreneurs is unleashed through its various activities.
The ZNCC-WD focuses on women entrepreneurs' development and is dedicated to:
- Build a substantial pool of ‘a Female Business Brand’ for entrepreneurs, executives and investors from all sectors nationwide.
- Advancing economic progress through the creation of a competitive, sustainable and private sector led environment in which women owned business can prosper.
- Developing and enhancing women entrepreneurship.
- Identifying, promoting and servicing the interest and needs of women entrepreneurs who are chamber members.
- Representing authoritatively and independently the views of women in business to local and national authorities.
- Disseminating relevant information on issues of vital importance to women entrepreneurs.
- Facilitating contact and access for women to local and international markets.
- Collaborating with other national organizations with similar objectives, throughout the world.
Focus area – ZNCC Women’s Desk
The ZNCC Women’s Desk has a specific responsibility that focus on matters affecting women in business especially those who are members of the chamber. The Women’s Desk has mutated to being the voice of women in business.
Since its inception, the Women’s Desk has attracted women entrepreneurs urban and rural, professional women, and women farmers who have interest in sharing business knowledge and experiences. It has expertise to negotiate for access to funding for its members, and market linkages. The Women’s Desk has the capacity to advocate and lobby against legislation that creates obstacles for women in business. The Chamber also has the capacity to enhance not just business negotiating skills but the use of ICT to support marketing and distribution of women made products/services.
Women members of ZNCC have an interest in up scaling their businesses through; participate in business to business linkages, breakfast meetings, business forums and workshops where external experts are invited to make relevant presentations. It is from such events that the Women’s Desk has established a more than 600-member database.
Since Marah Hativagone broke the glass ceiling and became the first female president, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce attracted high profile female business leaders like the current President and the Women’s Desk Chairperson Dr. Divine Ndhlukula. She has used her experience to strengthen partnerships relevant stakeholders that also support women economic empowerment. The ZNCC Women’s Desk has garnered experience from running the Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards (WECA), Mentorship in Practice (MiP), Woman Owned Brand (WOB) and the Look, Learn and Share Business Visits (LLS) programs. Since 2013, more than 500 urban and rural women have benefited from this network, while banks, and agricultural finance institutions, including ICT companies have shared their expertise in conferences, breakfast meetings and workshops. Such experience has partially contributed to enhancing the women’s voices and giving them confidence to assume leadership positions in the community and business sector.
ZNCC 2018 theme
ZNCC 2018 theme is “Enterprise Development, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Growth” given that the chamber is embarking on the drive to equip business with development opportunities, to help create sustainable businesses which grow and lead to job creation, which in turn contributes to sustainable economic growth. This is a priority as this will result in the provision of opportunities for local entrepreneurs. The chamber will also continue to provide a focus on business empowerment as the engine for economic growth and encouraging competitiveness through the promotion or organised business communities.
The month of February saw the Macroeconomic environment continue to be characterised by forex shortages which are weighing on business, though there is fervour of hope following measures that were announcedto buttress the narrative “Zimbabwe is open for business” in the 2018 National Budget (presented in December 2017) and the 2018 Monetary Policy Statement that was presented RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya on 07 February 2018.
With the 2018 budget having been cited as gearing towards restoring discipline, fostering a stronger culture of implementation, supported by political will in dealing with correcting the Fiscal Imbalances and Financial Sector Vulnerabilities, Public Enterprises and Local Authorities Reform, Improving the unconducive Investment Environment and dealing with Corruption in the Economy; ZNCC Members can leverage on:
- The Anchor Farmer concept which integrates commercial farming and smallholder farmer outreach, providing farmers with access to inputs, agronomic advice, and markets. The 2018 Budget proposed a 150% allowable deduction on expenditure related to technical and support services availed to smallholder farmers by anchor farmers. The concept of anchor farmers will also be extended to manufacturing companies that sub-contract the production of goods to small to medium enterprises.
- Anticipated surge in demand for electricity, for investment in power generation projects such as small hydro and solar plants to which the budget proposed to exempt power generation projects from corporate Income Tax for the first 5 years of operation, with effect from 1 January 2018.
Meanwhile, some of the measures by the central bank in the 2018 Monetary Policy Statement will play a role in convalescing the economy. However, despite positive sentiments and that the monetary policy seeks to buttress the confidence trajectory by putting in place measures that gradually liberalise the foreign currency market in order to indicate that the country is ‘open for business’, the current environment is weighing on objectives.
While there is need for the central bank to provide a mix of provident tools to control financial risks, and to resolve the cash challenge urgently in order to restore confidence Members can take advantage of the $400m dollar nostro stabilisation facility and utilise RTGS balances to acquire raw materials given that one of the objectives of the facility is to meet the foreign exchange requirements for the importation of essential requirements that include fuel, medications, electricity, cash imports, and industrial raw materials for the manufacture of cooking oil, other food products, packaging, exports.
State of the Economy Survey
After successfully launching the State of the Economy Survey on “Understanding the dynamics and characteristics of the informal sector in Zimbabwe in December 2017, the chamber is embarking on another State of the Economy Survey on “Zimbabwe Tax environment and its contribution to the New Normal Economy.”At the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce 2016 and 2017 Business Review Conferences, Business raised concerns regarding the tax policy in Zimbabwe it is against this background that the Survey is on the Tax Policy and areas which need attention to enhance tax compliance. The survey seeks to help identify concerns raised to enhance compliance. Taxation has either direct or indirect effects on almost every aspect of production and distribution in modern economies and is therefore an important aspect in economic growth.
ZNCC on the drive to promote Zimbabwe as an Investment destination
Delegation to Rwanda
ZNCC led a business delegation to Rwanda from 22 - 26 January 2018, in Kigali, for members to have an appreciation of investment and export opportunities available in Rwanda first hand and to interact with industry players looking for the same opportunities in Agriculture, Energy, Financial Services, ICT, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Mining, Real Estate and Tourism. Rwanda is Africa's most densely populated country and is trying to overcome the limitations of its small, landlocked economy by leveraging regional trade; Rwanda joined the East African Community and is aligning its budget, trade, and immigration policies with its regional partners
Zimbabwe – Botswana Business Forum
ZNCC was part of the delegation to Botswana for the Zimbabwe – Botswana Business Forum scheduled for 13 February 2018 at Peermont Walmont Hotel in Gaborone, Botswana. The program was on the sidelines of the State Visit to Botswana by His Excellency, President E. D. Mnangagwa. The objective of the Business Forum was to present business opportunities for co-operation between Zimbabwe and Botswana in the fields of trade and investment were ZNCC presented on Joint Venture opportunities in Zimbabwe.
Business meetings with potential foreign investors
ZNCC Meeting with the Romanian Delegation
The ZNCC CEO and team met with the Charge De Affairs from the Romanian Embassy, and the Executive Secretary for the Union of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday the 20th of February to discuss trade and investment opportunities between the two countries. Also present in the meeting was a team from Freyja Consulting, which facilitates trade between Romania, other European Countries and Zimbabwe. Discussions were centred on Romanian Companies intentions to bring in products, expertise and technologies from Romania. The delegation highlighted on its keenness in establishing a Romania- Zimbabwe business network which can serve the interests of both countries.
Meeting with Investors from Turkey
ZNCC Executive team comprising the Deputy President and the CEO met with Turkish Investors earlier in the week. The Turkish investors indicated on their need to invest in Zimbabwe as it is a country endowed with big potential. Turkish Businesses also sought some advice on sectors to venture in. Indications for the foregoing were cited as mining, agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, energy construction and water reticulation among other things. The investors expressed interest in investing in small scale gold mining, agriculture and construction.
The committee provides leadership and advice on all pertinent matters relating to the enhancement of the agricultural value chain for the furtherance of the objectives of the ZNCC. It provides guidance on decisions to support and develop the sector for the benefit of the local community and economy. It identifies and highlights Research Areas to enhance Agricultural development. It also oversees members’ standards and strategies designed to manage social and environmental risks and achieve compliance with social and environmental responsibilities and commitments (sustainable development). The committee has an oversight of sustainable development responsibilities in safety, health and employment practises for members.