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Business, policymakers urged to take advantage of 4th Industrial Revolution

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Harare, (New Ziana) – African businesspeople and policymakers should take advantage of the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution with its potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations worldwide.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said this at the 10th edition of the CEO Africa Annual Roundtable meeting held in the resort town of Victoria Falls on Thursday.

He said state-owned enterprises (SOEs) also need to take up their position of providing quality and affordable essential services given that they operate critical national infrastructure and services.

President Mnangagwa said the participation of delegates at the CEO Africa Roundtable, which has become a platform for setting national, regional and continental development discourse, is testimony to the confidence of the business community in the environment for trade and investment prevailing in Zimbabwe, the Southern African Development Community region and the continent.

This year the theme of the event is “The Future of Africa: Modernise, Reshape and Grow” which is in line with the continent’s developmental aspirations to innovate to increase production and productivity, as espoused in the African Union’s Agenda 2063: “The Africa We Want”.

“We are currently standing on the brink of a technological revolution that is fundamentally altering the way we live, work, and relate to one another, which is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres,” he said.

“As business and policymakers, we have to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as it has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”

“Through modernisation initiatives such as re-imagining and upgrading outdated systems, applications and processes, you will be able to attain higher productivity and efficiency levels; enhanced customer experience; increased agility; innovation; cost savings as well as improved product quality, among other benefits.”

This transformation applies both to the private sector and SOEs, said President Mnangagwa, and calls on local authorities to complement these developments by adopting technologies for resource planning, procurement, project management and risk management among others which are necessary for the development of smart cities that cater for the needs of the new normal that people are living in.

Financial service providers on the continent, should be innovative and offer more financial inclusion and intermediation between savers and borrowers through offering affordable products to encourage the public to save, he said, .

By ensuring that the banking public gets positive returns on their savings, more resources will be unlocked for on-lending to the productive sectors ultimately restoring confidence in the financial services sector.

President Mnangagwa said the Zimbabwe government is fostering an environment conducive to business growth and development through the implementation of broad measures to enhance the country’s competitiveness and investment climate.

“I, therefore, call on you all to explore various investment opportunities across key sectors such as commerce, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and tourism, among others,” he said.

“Furthermore, the Second Republic has prioritized infrastructure development as one of its key deliverables. This includes such investments as rehabilitation and development of roads, as well as the construction of new and refurbishment of existing power generating plants, among others. Regionally and across the continent, vast investment opportunities exist in the renewable energy sector, as we accelerate the transition to clean energy as a pathway to a healthy and habitable planet. These include in solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass energy generation, among others.”

He said the government is committed to significantly improving trade facilitation, reducing clearance times, and enhancing the efficiency of cross-border operations along transport corridors, leveraging on Zimbabwe’s strategic geographic location in the Southern African region.

“This is part of efforts to grow the volume of intra-Africa trade above the current low level of below 20 percent. I, therefore, urge you all to Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a transformative force, representing a vast market with a combined Gross Domestic Product of over US$3 trillion and a population surpassing 1.3 billion people,” he said, urging the captains of industry to take advantage of opportunities being availed by the current crop of progressive leaders on the African continent through the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFRA).

“By aligning the development of the North-South Corridor, Border Post upgrading, modernization
initiatives, and the principles of the ACFTA, we lay a strong foundation for seamless regional integration. This integration leads to expanded trade volumes, increased investments, job creation, and improved living standards for our people,” said President Mnangagwa.

“This will enable the development of regional value chains, which will ultimately assist African countries to diversify their economies and industrialise.

“The onus is upon you to take advantage of competitive and comparative advantages of value chains such as the Cotton-to-Clothing value chain; the leather value chain; the sugar value chain, the Soya value chain; the Pharmaceutical value chain, the Lithium value chain; as well as the bus and truck assembly value chain, among others.”

While modernizing, reshaping and growing their organisations, the business community should be mindful of the impacts of climate change and variability, which are becoming more evident with increased incidences of droughts and floods.

To mitigate these challenges, Zimbabwe has come up with a National Climate Change Response Strategy to deal with climate change issues and put in place specific actions to manage potential impacts.

As a result, its economy remains on a positive growth trajectory with a 4.8 percent GDP growth projection in 2024 despite being in the claws of an El-Nino-induced drought.

New Ziana

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