Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe president Letitia Gaga has called on chartered secretaries, many of whom are in key executive positions, to contribute to bringing to fruition government’s vision of making Zimbabwe an upper-middle class economy by 2030.
Addressing members of the Institute’s Harare branch on Tuesday (March 12), Mrs Gaga said the government envisaged a private sector-led economy and had undertaken to open the economy to international investors and financiers and to improve competitiveness and the ease of doing business.
Its Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which was the precursor to two five-year National Development Strategies beginning in 2021, was, government reported, a product of intense contributions from business, labour, civil society, development partners and interest groups.
Achieving the objective of quick wins to stimulate economic growth and stabilise the macroeconomic and financial sectors was only possible, she said, “if we give a cutting edge to our organisations and ultimately to our nation”.
“This is where the government needs strong institutions like ICSAZ and professionals of strong characters like chartered secretaries.
“Don’t think this will just happen automatically or wait for someone to do it on your behalf. There is no someone. That someone is you. We are the investors. We are the captains of industry and we have to steer the economy to the upper middle class economy by 2030,” she said.
She said that in pursuit of higher profits and better returns to shareholders, businesses tended to lose sight of the need to balance the interest of corporate bottom lines with the needs of other stakeholders such as employees, customers, suppliers, society and the communities in which they conduct their business.
“This may be counterproductive, as good corporate governance could be crucial for the achievement of a competitive advantage and profitability based on long-term thinking,” she said.
The accumulated evidence globally, she said, is that improved profits and performance follow the pursuit of a clearly articulated and self-conscious insistence, shared by managers and owners alike, that a company first exists to promote societal and human betterment.
Turning to the issues of competitive advantage and business strategy, Mrs Gaga said identifying a specific target audience with a clearly defined need, developing and delivering a high quality appropriately priced product or service and doing this better than anyone else was the key to achieving competitive advantage.
An effective business strategy began, she said, with focusing on the particular needs of a target audience.
“Successful strategic advantage falls to those who can deliver a product or service that is better in some way and that is more meaningful to the target audience,” she said.
These strategies work for any organisation, country or individual in a competitive environment,” she said.
“A competitive advantage is what makes an entity’s goods or a service superior and sustainable to customer’s choices.
“To create a competitive advantage it is necessary to be clear about the benefit of your product or service. It must be something that customers truly need and that offers real value.
“It is also necessary to be clear about the target market and who the competitors are. The competitive advantage must then be communicated through a variety of means,” she said.
She urged members of ICSAZ, as the champions of corporate governance, to promote ethical business practices.
“As the champions of corporate governance, I challenge all of us to go and preach the gospel of good business ethics,” she said.
Newly appointed ICSAZ chief executive Dr Lovemore Gomera briefed members on developments within the institute locally and internationally.
He said one of the core values of ICSAZ was collective wisdom. He urged members to actively participate in the affairs of the institute so that they could contribute to this collective wisdom.