Why do we not trust ourselves???

After finding out who won the ZEC Biometric Voter Registration Tender, I was kind of disappointed. Not because the winning company was from China instead of the Germany company that most were hoping for, but because it was a foreign company.

This just reminded me of the many other times that we’ve preferred foreign services to our own like health, education and energy. We don’t even trust our own equipment for the simplest things like child delivery! Now before you give me the ‘locals underperform’ excuse let me just share with you a little story.

So the other day I wanted to buy a certain product and my brother happens to sell that product. Unfortunately, his prices were higher than I could afford so I decided to buy it from a different shop. However, before I could buy it, the topic somehow just popped up during lunch and my dad seemed displeased by it. He topped up my money so that i could buy from my brother, and then said “mari ngaigare mumba”. In context that translated would be: for as long as you can help it, money should always circulate within the household.

I wish as Africa or Zimbabwe we could operate on the same philosophy. It might sound like a not-so-viable plan at the moment since quite a number of products aren’t locally available, particularly those involving high tech. However, we should notice that the idea won’t work within the same day or year of implementation, it’s actually long term.

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I am quite convinced we can do this because other countries have, particularly in the west. Governments subsidise their own local companies to ensure that they are catered for and as a result they produce country-worth products which are also worth exporting. I noticed this trend in the field of agriculture, but I personally think it can apply to any other industry.

Also, what we probably don’t realise is that relying on importing or giving tenders to foreign countries does not only transfer wealth but it also slows or hinders us from developing the expertise since we never really get the opportunity to ‘practise’ enough. See, it doesn’t start with us being best at something, it starts with us believing that we can do it then pouring in as much resources as possible to ensure that it becomes a reality. If we don’t do something about it now things will never change and brain drain will always be our problem.

At present, Zimbabweans dream of excelling so that they work for some company which is not in Zimbabwe. Whenever someone excels as a developer, the next thing they dream of is becoming part of the Silicon Valley or working for Google or something. Yes, we love our country but we need to get what we deserve so we will always flee to other countries. However it would have been a different story had we been investing in each other. Even if we didn’t necessarily have it perfect, but the simple fact that there is hope would have made people stay and that would have made a big difference!

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7 Comments

  1. Garikai Dzoma says:

    Excellent article it partly explains why right now we are struggling with a cash (forex) crisis in Zimbabwe. I was shocked the other day after buying a box of matches. The label said made in Pakistan. Seriously! We have to import matches from Pakistan? Why not make and sell matches in Zimbabwe? We used to do it. What happened to us?

    1. Nagato says:

      Zanu PF happened

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

    This is the mentality that makes the rich people richer at the expense of everyone else. Why should you buy from your brother, just because he is your brother? That is a form of nepotism! It ends up being your brother money, not yours. Whichever way you console yourself, you have not benefited. You just promoted his high prices, that’s all. He should price is goods competitively.

    Imported goods are competition too! So be competitive, instead of looking for excuses. Ama Sip Sip maheu is made in Zambia, and imported by a distributor in Zimbabwe. Aside from paying duty, it travels 400km from Lusaka to Harare, the distributor adds markup and sells it to a retailer. Remember, as well, that the manufacturer in Zambia also added markup. This maheu retails for 0.50c. Shumba maheu (I think that’s the name), made by Dairibord in Harare, is delivered to the same retailers and till recently sold for the same price. It pays no duty, neither does it travel as far. Then you cry foul when I don’t buy it because it’s locally made, despite (in my opinion) the Zambian one tastes better. If Shumba was cheaper, I might have overlooked the lesser taste, but at the same price why should I promote it for the sake of it being local, yet as a locally made product they aren’t priced to help me, they are priced to match whatever competitors products are being sold for. That’s being greedy.

    As well, why should you try and make something that is cheaper to import? At the end of the day, your industry will alway be at the mercy of prevailing trade laws and duties. It doesn’t make business sense. There are a lot of products one can manufacture, don’t make noise trying to compete in already flooded markets.

    Lest we forget, in the years before dollarisation, our manufacturing companies were exporting products to external markets, (cooking oil, margarine, milk e.t.c..), depriving us locally. That deficit was filled by imports, the same imports that today they are claiming took away their market share. The same “brothers” that would have seen us starve, now want statutory instruments in place to force your to enrichen them again now that foreign markets aren’t as lucrative since adopting the dollar. Get serious and be competitive!!!

  3. Fusion says:

    Quality quality quality…. If your product is good and competitively priced I personally would support Zimbabwean…. Reminds me of dlite cooking oil…. Once the statutory instrument band it…. The price of local cooking oil which was already slightly more priced went up by Dollar literally overnight…. I’m sure if we bring back dlite the price hike will be reversed…. Same goes for telecoms you have the Econet Monopoly that was charging us 50c a minute…. Ecocash overpriced….it’s cheaper to use zipit to transfer money…. Don’t get me started on soft drinks… The same Coke from South Africa is almost half the price of the local…. Use to be Coke wholesaler they raised their prices and prevented us from raising ours…so their profit goes up and they squeeze us…margins were already extremely low…solution was support the imports you make more plus the consumer pays less…. The list goes on and on….Zimbos are greedy and make a quick buck on the poor….
    The article.mentioned we prefer foreign treatment….have you compared prices…an echo here is 150 in India it’s 10….MRI back here it’s 1000 .SA 350….appendix India 500 here over 1000…. Did I mention that the quality if far superior…they make the patient feel like a king….hip replacement Zim 10000.malawi 6000….who are we kidding….all you after is my wallet

  4. dololo says:

    Corruption. Ma tender aya anopiwa kune anenga abuda mari. Full stop. Zvimwe zvana competition, quality wat wat, zvoshanda ku private sector. Zanu haina izvozvo.

  5. Sagitarr says:

    To answer your headline, it’s because of too many crooks. Right across the class and political divide. Compare the cost of imported goods vs locally produced ones then compare the quality and packaging. Include the pricing of these imports at source and you will see for yourself how greedy Zimbabweans are. You don’t get into business to be paid for “trying” – you enter to compete which is why market research is encouraged before doing so.

    Once upon a time we had faith in ourselves as Zimbabweans, maybe Rhodesians then. This country used to be self-sufficient in just about everything from food, tools, clothing, electrical power, transportation etc any industry – you name it. This country had a currency stronger than the British pound, US dollar and RSA Rand. The production standards (hard work and pride) were high which made products competitive enough to be export earners. There was a direct relationship and delicate balance between education, industry and commerce.

    These standards started falling after we gained political “independence” as experienced people left due to deteriorating or lack of adherence to those standards they were used to or a different work ethic (or lack of it) or poor leadership and a deficit in the maintenance of the established standards started to manifest itself, slowly at first and then rapidly. Ask and listen to anyone who grew up in Rhodesia they will tell you the same story regardless of their station in life at that time.

    The “mari ngaigare mumba” philosophy, if I can call it that, is not sustainable in the absence of high standards and pride. If you have worked in the design of a product, you will understand that it must pass through, for example, critical analysis for it to be able to make it in a competitive world – short-cuts might not provide long term rewards if they sacrifice good design, quality control and aesthetics. The aim of civilisation is progress not retrogression. I think this “philosophy” belongs to retrogression because if your family network is limited in terms of resources, economically viable advice, knowledge or experience what then? A small example here – if you are a tailor and wish to sew a suit, will you have members of your family in the entire production chain? From planting cotton right up to production of buttons and the dyes and threads? You need others in business, you will need suppliers and customers/clients that’s why employing your own folk is described as nepotism.

    At some point laziness became more rewarding than hard work e.g. stealing, fraud, “burning currency” etc versus menial,office or engineering work. New words like “deals” replaced more respectable words like “contract” etc There is always payback time and consequences for retrogressive tendencies.

  6. Nagato says:

    This clearly shows that the author lacks common economic theory. Comparative advantage means it is useless to try and compete with an industry that was established years ago. You have to be very innovative to have a chance at all. Combine that with a clueless government that doesn’t even enforce property rights and u wonder why would anyone bother with real innovation in Zimbabwe. Next year Zanu should be out or we go to war at all costs

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