Opportunities for business are everywhere. In a country where every sector has experienced a major hit, there is definitely room for new entrants. In Zimbabwe there is a saying that goes, ‘Mari yako chete’ meaning your money is your only obstacle. This is true in general. There aren’t too many barriers to entry because there is very little production of any kind going on in Zimbabwe.
The standard of health care in Africa is very poor when compared to the standards in Europe, Asia and America. Secondary and tertiary healthcare services have a high investment potential in Africa as health management, research and information technology are lacking. This also offers the opportunities to serve a social cause. Health care facilities on the ground are obsolete and unreliable those who can afford it seek medical checkup abroad and delicate surgeries such as heart and kidney transplant are done abroad. Avenues Clinic, one of the better hospitals in Zimbabwe is still not able to perform some delicate surgeries and so, there is room for other entrants to enter. There are more health facilities opening around the country, but the standards are generally very low. The Premier and CIMAS clinics are always over capacity and standards are deteriorating very fast.
A lot of money is being spent annually as people seek medical care outside of Zimbabwe. We can also promote Medical Tourism, like South Africa. We have great doctors, some based abroad, for the right amount of money and standards and ethics, we could build a world-class medical centre that will compete with the likes of Medi Clinic.
Take a look at the Medi Clinic and how it has grownFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mediclinic International, founded in 1983, is an international private hospital group with operations in South Africa, Namibia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, and listed on the JSE, the South African securities exchange, since 1986. The Group’s head office is based in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Mediclinic Southern Africa, with more than 50 hospitals in South Africa and Namibia, is one of the three largest private hospital groups in the subcontinent. The company is listed on the JSE and has a market-share of approximately 25%. Mediclinic Southern Africa currently operates 6 915 licenced beds and has more than 12 000 full-time employees.
Mediclinic Middle East holds a controlling interest in Emirates Healthcare Holdings based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Welcare World comprises seven world class medical centres that offer complete medicare services in the Middle East Region.
Mediclinic Europe operates Hirslanden AG, the leading private hospital group in Switzerland. Hirslanden has 14 clinics, 100 “centres of competence” and specialist institutes as well as a broad range of medical services.
Many of earth’s resources are depleting and depleting fast and we all have the duties to take steps to conserve our resources and manage them better. Energy is top on the list of resources we have to keep our eyes on. Energy costs have become so high and it has had direct consequences on the costs of goods and services.
In order to solve this problem, researchers went to work and discovered alternative sources of energy which are not only cheaper but cause less pollution and protect the environment. This is why they are popularly referred to as green energy sources. Renewable energy refers to a source of energy which can be regenerated and is gotten from direct and indirect sources. The direct sources include photoelectric and thermal sources of power while the indirect sources are gotten from natural elements like the sun, wind, biomass or heat.
When you invest in the renewable energy industry, you are not only investing in a business that would make you money. You are also investing in a business that would help to better the lives of generations to come by protecting the environment and you are also investing in a business that has the backing of the government in terms of taxes and funding. Zimbabwe has a serious energy crisis and any innovations investments in this sector will yield great opportunity for profit. Instead of focusing on selling generators, renewable energy needs to be marketed and exploited.
<strong>Communications and Computing</strong>
The African cell phone industry is the fastest growing market in the world. Wider access to internet, broadband, ADSL and 3G access is required in Zimbabwe. There is a need to increase capacity and service provision. Whether it is land lines, cell phones, internet, computers, all these and associated goods and services are areas of opportunity. In South Africa internet browsers increased by 121% in two years.The numbers are encouraging if South Africa and the rest of Africa is anything to go by.
Unlike the rest of Africa, Zimbabwe doesn’t have any really apps that are really changing the way we live. Take a look at how Nigeria is getting into the mobile app market.
“We are proud to see Nigeria’s innovative developer community get behind the BlackBerry 10 platform, with more than 250 local apps now available and many more coming,” said Waldi Wepener, Managing Director for BlackBerry. “Having locally relevant and available content ensures delivery of a completely unique user experience while also enriching the Nigerian developer ecosystem on the BlackBerry 10 platform. We are committed to continuing to work closely with the Nigerian developer community to further enhance the local content available across our products.”
Nigerian applications available at launch include:
• EssentialApp: A free lifestyle content app that provides access to everyday information needed in Nigeria. It gives customers access to a search-based business directory backed by 100,000 listed businesses and links to useful Nigerian websites for news, sports and events. The EssentialApp also provides flight times at nearby airports, movie schedules, forex rates and more.
• Ready Cash Mobile Money: CBN licensed mobile money service, which allows easy access to financial services provided through a large network of agents. Customers can use the ReadyCash app to send and receive money using only a phone number, transfer funds to bank accounts, and pay utility bills and for goods and services at merchant locations.
• Jobs In Nigeria: A job-finding app that connects job seekers to employers in Nigeria. The app lists jobs from various sources and also allows employers to post jobs and search for candidates. It was created to serve the needs of graduates with smartphones, as well as employed professionals looking to change their jobs.
• Nigeria Stock Market Report: A free app that allows you to see the daily data, news and analysis of the stocks traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market.
Other Nigerian apps available in BlackBerry World include: Afrinolly, Figgi Cinemas, The Punch, Nigeria News, Scholarship Tips, Complete Sports News, Nigeria Hospitals, Nigerian Breaking News, Update on Crime & Justice, Your Vehicle Clinic, and Comedy and Humor.
In moving with technology, Zimbabweans can create apps that will not only be relevant to Zimbabwe and Africa, but that can also be relevant and marketeable worldwide. Taking a cue from the Nigerians, we could have Zimbabwean apps loaded on Blackberies at the time of purchase.
Internet and E-Businesses
This is a virtually untapped area and it doesn’t help to lag behind the rest of the world. Zimbabwe has faced a lot of drawbacks that have made us uncompetitive internationally. PayPal has just become available in Zimbabwe and banks are now giving credit cards. Being unable to conduct business online has been a great drawback for Zimbabwe and online business is yet to pick up like it has in other countries. Econet has made e-payment more accessible to people with the new Mastercard. Online business is still lagging way behind the rest of the world. One must be able to make a purchase from anywhere in the world, facilitated by Zimbabwean companies and have products delievered to your doorstep. Yes, the Post Office is not efficient, but this could be another opportunity. With all the 419 crime in Nigeria, it is still possible to order merchandise from European and American stores, while sitting in your home in Nigeria and have it delivered to your doorstep.
Construction and Property Developement
This industry has been stagnant during the downturn. Numerous projects have been going on for years. Roads, buildings, houses have been under construction for decades. The money has not been there. 2010 has seen a few of these projects completed, so it looks like there is light at the end of the construction tunnel. A drive through any town shows the growth in construction projects. People are building houses as the economy had been easing a little bit. If you are good at your trade and maintain a standard of excellence, it is possible to have work all year round.
The property market in Zimabwe is still relatively accessible. Those who purchased farms and large areas of land are now either selling and developing. This is the time to get in.
Recent years have seen the agricultural sector begin to re-emerge. It has become trendy to become a new farmer. All you need is a bit of land, a cell phone and a lot of money. Well, this is actually not true, it is a capital intensive business, fertilizers are not that cheap, and if it is your first season, it can get very challenging. Opportunities exist for small and large-scale farming as the country needs food security. Passionate is a key ingredient for success as this is a full-time job.
There are several grower and producer schemes available, which will be dealt with in another post. Schemes are available in tobacco, chicken production, piggery and so on. Many have made a fortune through tobacco and poultry production. Do not jump into schemes, things always look rosey from the outside. Tobacco takes a lot of work, with growing a nursery as early as August, all the way to going to the tobacco floors eight or so months later. Be prepared to put in the work. Even if you employ people, they will need to be managed, people have a tendancy not to work when they are not monitored. Tobacco prices were very low this year, and a whole years work can result in very little monetary gain.
Zimbabwe is rich in mineral resources, Chrome, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin, platinum and recently a larger deposit of diamonds have been found. This is a highly specialized industry and again the investment required is large. This industry is highly regulated, commodity prices are regulated and various licenses are required. Although it seems that diamond mining and brokering has reached its peak and the ordinary man is not able to make much out of this business, there are still other opportunities in other sectors.
This includes trucking, passenger transport and freight. Transport is always on demand that is one thing for sure. The major drawback can be high start-up cost and maintenance costs. This is a very hands on business and requires good management to keep the profits coming in over a long period of time. I can think of the likes of Express Motorways, Chitanda Buses, Chigumba Buses, Msabaika Buses all, here today gone tomorrow. If managed well, transport is good business. Refer to previous posts on transport business.
If you can’t get there you can’t trade there, US Transportation secretary Rodney E Slater once said. The United States exports to Africa are hampered by poor connections. This trade is important to the USA. “Our exports to Africa already support close to 100,000 jobs in the United States.” The USA values its trade to Africa because it provides jobs to 100, 000 Americans. The reverse should also be true that i Africans cannot trade in the USA, they will not be able to get there. Africa should be trying to get their products into markets beyond their national borders. This creates more jobs for nationals and brings in the much needed trade that will grow our economies.
Zimbabwe recently adopted a look policy, which focuses on trading with China. Trading with China is a very good move, but trading with all countries is an even better policy. Chinese businessmen do not isolate markets and choose the ones that are most appealing to them, they have their products in every country. I am sure that there is no country that does not sell Chinese goods. Nigerians often say that if you find a country where there are no Nigerians, it means that that country is not liveable. I am sure that the same can be said about Chinese products, if you find a country without Chinese products, that country is not worth doing business with.
If we can stimulate trade with even the remotest country, it will open up immeasurable opportunities for trade within that region. Africa has a lot to offer, from art to minerals, Africa has so much to offer that we need to ensure that we can get our products across to any nation. “Johannesburg airport functions like the regional air traffic “switchboard” through which flights to and from other destinations in the region are directed.There are no direct flights between most countries, meaning the travellers have to use the circuitous route of going via Johannesburg. This makes it expensive to travel by air across borders, especially where the countries are neighbours and are a bit further from South Africa. There are also costs associated with time wasted in waiting for connections from Johannesburg. If you cannot get there you cannot trade there. This simply says that as African’s we cannot trade with each other because it is next to impossible to get products across at a reasonable rate.
Consider trading with Nigeria, which is the largest economy in Africa right now. If you were in Zimbabwe, your products would have to go to Johannesburg and then Lagos. I travel a lot between Zimbabwe and Lagos and every time I fly, I am amazed that almost one in every ten passengers is a black African. I am sure that more than 60% of the people on the flight are white South Africans, then followed by white people from Westerners or Asians, followed by Nigerians then maybe 1% is black African. Black Africans are all fixated on Bako Horam while the rest of the world continues to build relations and trade set up businesses in Lagos. The few black Africans travelling to Nigeria are going to the Synagogue, SCOAN, to get a miracle! By the time our African brothers wake up and see the opportunities, there will be few business opportunities let for the taking.
The only Southern African country set up to trade with Nigeria right now is South Africa. Every other Southern African countries has to send goods via Johannesburg. So while Zimbabwe continues to isolate itself from the world, focusing on trading with only China, the rest of the world builds ties that will provide future opportunities.