The CEO Africa Roundtable has urged Zimbabweans to be united and look for each other during and after the lockdown saying there is merit in coming together than in being divided.
COVID-19 has taken the world by a storm. Financial markets and vulnerable industries such as manufacturing, services, and tourism have been hit hard.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism accounts for 10% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and with 195 million jobs at risk worldwide, this industry (along with others) will face severe consequences when the pandemic is over.
In an interview with GreatDykeTV, the CEO Africa Round Table Chief Executive Officer Kipson Gundani urged Zimbabweans to invest their resources in the country saying this will help in feeding the general populations after the lockdown.
“I think the world at large has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world has come to a standstill, business is suffering, people’s livelihoods have been disturbed, travel bans also mean that there’s low velocity in terms of doing business.
“There are so many lessons that l have learnt. The first lesson l have learnt is obviously to put your money where your mouth is. It doesn’t pay to go and stash up our resources offshore.
“We need to invest our resources home, build infrastructure, and invest in factories such that we build a stronger economy such that in times like this we are able to at least go further in terms of feeding our populations.
“Then two, another critical lesson learnt is that there is merit in coming together than in being divided. l think we have seen the private sector pouring in resources to various institutions, this could be health centres, children’s homes, it could be elderly people’s homes.
“The major lesson learnt is that we need each other. I think if that spirit continues to be practiced even in normal circumstances we will be able to be a better country,” said Gundani.
He urged Chief Executive Officers to be vigilant during the lockdown saying 2020 is not a year for making profits, it’s a year for survival.
“l think CEOs need to be dynamic, need to be aggressive, of course these are difficult moments where difficult decisions are being made, some to do with retrenchments, cutting costs and everything else but maybe the long and short of it is let’s continue to be futuristic.
“For me, 2020 is not a year for profits but a year for survival, l think that should be an inclination to say if you manage to survive both as an individual and as a company you would already have some tremendous input to the survival of this planet,” he said.
He added “Farming is about food. l think there was a serious global disturbance in global trade and given that Zimbabwe has been a net food importer over time, l think the major lesson is we strive to feed ourselves as a country.
“Farming your own food is as good as creating your own currency. I think it’s an attribute, it’s a fact, and it’s fundamental that we need to embrace as people such that we are able to grow our own food.
“Then when it comes to mining, l think one thing that we have seen because there was a crash on global stocks and everything else there was a drift for people to hedge against loss of value by buying gold.
“So, you also saw that the gold prices were firming up and as a country we tried to capitalise on that as a gold producer and so forth and also l think our mining industry per see in terms of production output was not severely hit because it did not stop production for a very long period of time.
“So, what it means is that where we have got competitive and comparative advantage we need to put more effort and be able to produce more and more such that we are able to capitalise during this particular moment.
“And also another lesson learnt outside mining and agriculture for the industry is the ability to diversify to be flexible. If you were a producer of alcohol l think there was merit in swiftly turning into the production of ethanol, sanitizers, and everything else such that you continue to be relevant even if there are these kind of shocks.”
Below is the video.