by Robert Garai Muganda
2011 July 14
HARARE – On 20 July 2011, at the Africa Unity Square, the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign and the CEOs of several companies in Zimbabwe are launching an event and symbolic flag-flying ceremony, the Buy Zimbabwe Day, and are calling all Zimbabweans to join in celebrations.
Events commemorating 20 July as Buy Zimbabwe Day are aimed at raising awareness and generating support for consumers to buy products made in Zimbabwe and help revive local industries. The Buy Zimbabwe Campaign is coordinating with national bodies such as; Standards Association of Zimbabwe (S.A.Z), National Economic Consultative Forum (N.E.C.F), Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (M.A.Z), private companies, parastatals, NGOs and other partners to commemorate this day. The Buy Zimbabwe Campaign invites all those who wish to support, promote, and help revive the local industries, to attend this collaborative event.
Spokesperson of the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign, Mr Munyaradzi Hwengwere says, “We announced on our launch, that for the Buy Zimbabwe to be successful and effective we must Go Beyond Words by working with Business, Government, and Consumers in practical matters directed at ensuring increased production and consumption of local goods and services.”
“Buy Zimbabwe goes beyond simply assertion of pride in what one produces but importantly assures the entire family of a prosperous and sustainable future. It guarantees employment and higher standards of living.”
Mr Hwengwere said that on the occasion of the launch of the Buy Zimbabwe Day, the campaign targets various communities including; business, labour, Government and Consumers. “We are particularly calling on all Standards Association of Zimbabwe (S.A.Z) companies to come forward and be huge part of this campaign. The Buy Zimbabwe Day is designed to celebrate those brands that make Zimbabwe proud, the brands that meet high quality standards, adhere to the country’s labour laws and are produced in Zimbabwe, the three key principles which the Buy Zimbabwe stands for.”
“As labour has an interest in this event it is particularly important for the sector to join hands with other stakeholders in that it is their jobs which are protected once Zimbabwean goods and services are bought.
Buying a Zimbabwean product safeguards the future and saves jobs. The current trend which has seen a lot of industries being closed and jobs lost is disturbing and cannot be left to go on. We all rely on these jobs, our children rely on these jobs the entire economy relies on these jobs.”
Scores of Chief Executive Officers and Zimbabwe’s leading business executives will converge at the Africa Unity Square on July 20, 2011 for the Buy Zimbabwe Day C.E.O city walk designed to celebrate and pay homage to the country’s proud quality brands. The executives will get to mingle with their consumers and also witness the launch of the Buy Zimbabwe insignia and certification standard which shall be used on the local and international market as an identifier of Zimbabwean products that are homegrown, high quality and are committed to creating jobs for the majority of unemployed Zimbabweans.
Government has since the start of this initiative been a critical partner of the Buy Zimbabwe. From its inception, Buy Zimbabwe has encouraged dialogue between government, business and labour. “The historic launch of the Mid-Term plan should be hailed because it addresses some of the long standing issues between business and government which have contributed to a lot of economic stagnation. We must commend the Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce who has always encouraged close cooperation between business and government. As Buy Zimbabwe Campaign and through our all weather friend the National Economic Consultative Forum (N.E.C.F) we are encouraging and facilitating a lot of dialogue between government and industry,” said Mr Hwengwere.
“At the end of the day all we do is for the ultimate benefit of the consumer, you are a consumer, I am a consumer and all twelve million plus Zimbabwe are consumers. Through our partners Consumer Council of Zimbabwe we are working to help local businesses realize that the consumer is more than just a King but actually owns the brands. Any business that pays a deaf ear to consumer demands is surely in trouble.
The consumer demands quality, innovation, fair pricing and delivery.
Current perceptions on local products are disturbing because SOME local products are falling short. So we encourage the pace setters to work closely with those legging behind so that we can help the Zim brand grow.”
Buy Zimbabwe Campaign has an on-going certification programme through its technical partner S.A.Z, to ensure a vigorous promotional campaign that positions the Buy Zimbabwe seal as the most recognizable icon for goods and services that represent local content, quality, and fair labour practice. Additionally Buy Zimbabwe is working with Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (M.A.Z) in introducing Home Grown Awards as a category of the Superbrand brand of the Year Awards. Soon the campaign will launch the Buy Zimbabwe Week whose aim is to promote and market Zimbabwean goods and services over the festive period.
“As you might have observed Buy Zimbabwe is big on synergies. We are creating more synergies as we go along. It is only through partnerships we can hope to build a better Zimbabwe and we encourage every Zimbabwean to work together in which ever way they can to ensure that the goals of such programmes as the MTP and any projects that we commit ourselves to as Zimbabwe are a success,” said Mr Hwengwere.
Highlights of the Buy Zimbabwe Day include:
· 5km city walk.
· Unveiling of the Buy Zimbabwe Insignia.
· Certificates of recognition to local companies whose products that have stood the test of time and meet with SAZ certification standards.
Despite the numerous milestones to be celebrated on the day, major concern that the Chief Executives will share on the day is the sustainability of their businesses considering the inconsistent policy environment that they are currently operating under.
Buy Zimbabwe spokesperson said that although the campaign appreciates the relevance of the duty free regime on finished basic commodities introduced by the government at a time of severe shortages, close examination of the current policy on duty, however, reveals that it is largely skewed towards foreign products and threatens the survival of local companies. “As Buy Zimbabwe, we encourage government to ensure that the importation of goods is not at the expense of local businesses that have over the years been rendered uncompetitive in the face of an influx of foreign alternatives,” noted Mr Hwengwere.
The Buy Zimbabwe Campaign was originally conceptualised as the final task of a entrepreneurial television reality show My Own Boss which targeted youths from Zimbabwe and Zambia upon the realisation that it was the youths who bear the brunt of unemployment because of dysfunctional industries in the two countries.
From the show the campaign was identified as a project that possessed a lot of potential as it addressed the challenges that business in Zimbabwe was facing and would contribute in reducing unemployment primarily amongst the youth.
Buy Zimbabwe ultimately seeks to create a platform necessary to promote the production and consumption of local goods and services in the face of an influx of foreign alternatives.