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This week we were going to continue on part 2 from last week’s memo but after some reflections we decided to move on because we believe that we did manage to drive the point home. However, it was reported that Zambia wants to abandon plans to finalize our national credit rating. 

 

Dr. Caleb Fundanga - Excogitating Zambia's Policies At World Economic Forum 2008

Dr. Caleb Fundanga - Excogitating Zambia's Policies At World Economic Forum 2008

… this is not the time to shelve these plans; it is actually the most opportune time to exemplify them to strategically position the Zambian Enterprise for long-term success.

 

We at the Zambian Chronicle think that the Governor and the Minister of Finance need to step in and move expeditiously on this to complete the long awaited “credit rating” as soon as possible.

 

It would not only be wasteful to see all those Zambian tax dollars since been paid to JP Morgan Chase account for losses on discontinued operations but also imprudent to quit now that we are almost there. You see, strategic planning does not look at the here and how, it looks at long term goals for the entire enterprise.

 

While the here and now tells us that the global recession is real, strategic planning looks at what we do after the recession is over, specifically those things that are to be done to make us better than our competitors. For a government, our competitors are other nations around us and or those in the global village.

 

A government, just like any other business has to realize that there is limited capital to go around and this capital is built on the Zero-Sum Theory; meaning if Enterprise A gets it from Investor Y, then Enterprise B would have to look somewhere else. But if Investor Y is the only funding source out there, then Enterprise B is out of luck.

 

As a result, we have to position the Zambian Enterprise in such a way that our planning process is futuristically oriented, developmentally focused, effective, and repeatable with the agility to countenance challenges facing many others today but yielding better results due to our competitive edge.

 

Our very first memo of this year talked about the Success Corner: Ambidexterity Is A Secret Weapon For Success; Use It In 2009 … well, it is about time the whole country geared itself for ambidexterity. Our strategic outlook needs to be that focused if we are going to distinguish ourselves from the pact. Click on the link above to read more …

 

An effective strategy contains not only “who we are” and “where we want to be”, but also “how we get there”. The “how” includes the governance structure, encompassing tax codes that are expansionist in nature, developmental portfolios that are citizen oriented, operational processes, and execution(s) that are both tactical and analytical in nature. The above strategies make any entity stand out when all others are falling and our Zambian Enterprise is not an island.

 

We realize that there currently are a lot pressures on the Executive (government and cabinet) to reduce costs and improve delivery of developmental projects to the fullest. But that does not come at the expense of what would help us reach those same goals in the short-medium term because in the final analysis the only barometer for success is how much development each administration brought to the citizenry.

 

The credit rating will eventually help the Zambian Enterprise achieve bottom line results and drive lasting change which is a derivative of creative thinking and disciplined execution to every engagement. We as a nation, already have extensive experience in all aspects of government operations including processes, human capital and systems. We have enough educated folk to make this happen, we just have to place them in the right operational fields.

 

We have demonstrated results in improving standards of living before creating conglomerates such as ZCCM which even got listed on the world largest stock exchange NYSE – as late as 1996; it was the world’s largest conglomerate. We created INDECO, ZIMCO, FINDECO, MINDECO and others just to mention a few. The only problem we created for ourselves was when we hired thieves in the Executive Branch of office in 1991.

 

In the name of privatization they (these thieves) sold our birth rights for a morsel of bread. By transferring all our factors of production to others, we created squalors out of ourselves. At the time this privation saga was in full gear, we were lonely voices as some of the few trying to whistle blow asking every one to tap the brakes but it seemed every one was in the Kumbaya mode and Bwembyarism was on the rise.

 

We did not want the privatization process to stop, all we were asking was to critically look at the way we were losing our influence and ability to manage the factors of production that took years to build. We used Boris Yeltsin in Russia as an example. Instead of selling all Russian parastatals to foreign investors, Boris looked for Russians who mostly ran the parastatals to be privatized and offered them leveraged and management buy-out options.

 

The west was critical because they wanted the Russian pie so bad, but Boris Yeltsin stood his grounds and completed the Russian privatization process thereby creating what is called the Russian Oligarchy today. These are Russian billionaires who have taken over all of Russia’s factors of production in all sectors of the economy. And guess what; while the whole world is crying about the recession, Russia has not been hit as bad.

 

Within the Zambian Enterprise we had enough Zambians who could have taken over creating the Zambian Oligarchy. You know them, but instead of going that route we denigrated them and at times made them public scorns especially if they were not part of “the hour”.

 

The late President Levy P Mwanawasa got it, he was a listening president and when the Zambian Chronicle brought up the subject of obtaining a national credit rating to improve our scores at the World Economic forum, he asked Bank of Zambia Governor to look into it.

 

This was after we wrote the October 15th, 2007 memo in which we explained how Zambia’s Global Competitiveness Stinks, World Economic Forum Reveals … In that memo we revealed that one of the reasons was that there was not enough information complied about Zambia that could easily be cross referenced and verified. Well, the very next year our Bank of Zambia Governor attended the summit and our scores greatly improved.

 

That was part of the HIPC program that we advocated for. It not only led to the Zambian Enterprise removing huge amounts of debt from our national balance sheet, improving our current account standing notwithstanding the balance of payment systems at Bank of Zambia, it also put us on a pathway for attracting move FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).

 

Unfortunately, the new Sherriff in town may not be aware of this genealogy of events that led to Zambia seeking a national credit rating and may not have the same foresight as the Mwanawasa Administration, but Zambia is greater than any single one of us…

 

By being a listening president, Levy achieved in six years great strides that Kaunda failed to in 16 years of administration. By being a listening president, Levy reversed in six years almost all the ills created by an ill-directed privatization process and discombobulated myopic notions of FTJ’s 10 wasted years of non-existent leadership.

 

By being a listening president, Levy managed to turn a country ridden in deficits to a $1.2 billion reserve account at Bank of Zambia at the time of his departure, now that has been reduced to only $800 million, a 25% drop in less than six months from the last elections.

 

When Levy Posthumously Scooped “Africa’s President of the Year Award” for 2008 from Zambian Chronicle … we endeavored to document most of his strides in our December 8th, 2008 memo. His were documentable achievements that could only happen because he decided and realized, leadership was not about him but about the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise.

 

Do the powers that now are know how many countries would kill for having a great national credit rating on the continent of Africa? There are currently only countries with that rating; that’s South Africa and Botswana. Does it surprise any one that these two countries together account for 2% of the entire world GDP as opposed to the 5% the entire continent accounts for?

 

A friend of mine on Facebook last week wrote, “… I would kill for the Nobel Prize”. Since I didn’t get his permission to quote him, I will not mention his name but he is an ardent reader of the Zambian Chronicle so he is going to read this memo I know for sure …

 

That’s how I sometimes feel about Zambia … Zambia is so rich, many nations would kill to be Zambia but we know it not. Our food security capacity is such that at full potential we can feed the whole Africa but we utilize that not, our hydro-electric potential is such that at full capacity we can electrify the whole continent of Africa but we black out like we have none.

 

Standing alone, Zambia holds 10% of all water reserves for the entire continent of Africa and yet our sanitation systems are archaic we usually have cholera outbreaks, we can produce can sugar in Mazabuka alone that can supply the whole Europe and Africa, and yet we live on brown sugar. We are the largest producer of copper on the continent yet others set the prices for us.

 

We have natural gas and oil reserves spurring from the Eastern Province all the way to Northwestern Province and yet our biggest imports are petroleum products. We have enough minerals to produce any electronic product yet we export raw only to get the finished products.

 

Our geographical position alone is worth billion in Astrophysics, Aeronautics and Space Science – both the Russians and Americans just wished they had such for launch sites. Why do you think we get the largest number of tourist whenever we have the eclipse of the sun and or moon? We are so strategically located we can launch satellites from Zambezi all the way to Kabompo with the least of expenses, yet our brains can’t even rap around that; the list is endless and disheartening to discuss …

 

The reason(s) advanced for the discontinuity are not in themselves rational at all. We don’t just get a good rating for the sole purpose of external borrowing; we also get it for internal business functionalities that ease up capital within the enterprise as well. Local municipalities can use a national rating to their advantage thereby increasing local development.

 

We are at the cross roads now, and now is not the time to reverse the good well-intended, well-thought out programs that Levy left in place that brought about satisfaction about the way tax payers cash was being spent, reducing product delivery cycle times thereby cutting poverty in half – from almost 92%  (by some estimates) living under the poverty datum line to the current 58%.

 

Now is not the time to reduce employment which Levy managed to build up to almost 60% when he found only 20% Zambians in formal employment. Now is not the time to reduce productivity but to increasing workforce performance, and improving quality processes and results for all children of the Zambian Enterprise.

 

Now is the time to build on and strategically position ourselves for better days ahead. Now is the time to make the hard choices that will make those behind us proud of things we are putting in place for them.

 

Now is not the time to push away functional capabilities but to partner with all brZambians at home and abroad from broad government initiatives to functional project initiatives.

 

Now is not the time to pick up fights with our own people the media and any other enterprise for that matter but to team up together and fight our common enemy called poverty.

 

Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.

 

Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.

CEO  & President – Zambian Chronicle 

 

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