Fund­ing is not the prob­lem

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

IAM con­vinced that fund­ing is not the chal­lenge in Zimbabwe. I am hon­estly con­vinced that money isn’t the is­sue and I am putting my sim­ple, hum­ble Hwange her­itage on the block. Ob­so­lete ma­chin­ery Cap­tains of in­dus­try com­plain about ob­so­lete ma­chin­ery day in day out. My ques­tion is where were they to let th­ese ma­chin­ery go to waste. Wasn’t it un­der their watch that we lost com­pet­i­tive­ness of our ma­chin­ery? To what ex­tent were the strate­gic meet­ings achiev­ing their ob­jec­tives? Now cap­tains of in­dus­try are talk­ing about re­tool­ing as if they were not in charge of the oper­a­tions while cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy turned into di­nosaurs. Is that a fund­ing prob­lem?

Women in Busi­ness There have been funds availed to the marginalised women in marginalised ar­eas for a while. Non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOs), gov­ern­ment and banks have poured money into th­ese de­mo­graphic groups but to what ex­tent have th­ese schemes achieved the de­sired im­pact? Do we have any sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess sto­ries to talk about?

NGOs Th­ese have been there dolling out funds, ser­vices to the marginalised but have the marginalised been el­e­vated? Any ev­i­dence of im­pact on the ground de­spite th­ese free ad­vi­sory and fi­nan­cial ser­vices? There­fore, it’s no longer about money. It’s some­thing else.

Youth in Busi­ness The num­ber of de­lib­er­ate strate­gies em­ployed here one can be ex­cused in think­ing we are sup­port­ing peo­ple not yet ready to re­ceive help at all. Look at the de­fault rates across. You don’t have to search for any good story (nee­dle) in this haystack. Bad sto­ries have over­shad­owed the iso­lated great sto­ries. Give me a good youth story and I will bring two devils for din­ner. It’s not about money. To think th­ese have been re­volv­ing funds that could have ben­e­fit­ted all the youth and the next gen­er­a­tion of youth but the pi­o­neers messed it up for all. Thus, money is no longer in­ter­ested in youth projects. Once beaten twice shy.

Min­ing Funds Ar­ti­sanal min­ing has been le­galised and funds or ma­chin­ery are avail­able. But we still have degra­da­tion and toxic en­vi­ron­ment they op­er­ate in. It ex­poses the land and their health to un­ac­cept­able lev­els of oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ards. So many ini­tia­tives have been chan­nelled to­wards nu­mer­ous ar­eas but still we see less or nil suc­cess sto­ries. We see a sit­u­a­tion where peo­ple have in­stant suc­cess that evap­o­rates to­mor­row. It’s never sus­tain­able de­spite funds be­ing availed. Not ev­ery­one will re­ceive the re­quired funds. It doesn’t work like that in life. Many are called but few are cho­sen.

Pen­sion Funds What has hap­pened to pen­sion funds when as­set man­agers were sup­posed to pre­serve value dur­ing hy­per­in­fla­tion en­vi­ron­ment? For those that pre­served value then what hap­pened to clients re­ceiv­ing value in re­turn?

Cross Bor­der fa­cil­i­ties We have th­ese funds now and be­fore through RBZ ini­tia­tives (very cheap fund­ing) and even be­fore this we had a num­ber but show me one or two role model cases of growth that I can use as peer ed­u­ca­tors.

Agri­cul­ture Funds Agrib­ank and de­vel­op­men­tal part­ners are awash with all sorts of funds at lower rates (rel­a­tive to other funds). Rates re­sem­ble the mar­ket and it is the mar­ket so we can’t say the funds are still very high.

It is what it is. Agri­cul­ture has scored some suc­cess sto­ries we need to en­cour­age sus­tain­abil­ity and con­sis­tence plus the in­creased num­bers. Farm­ing nor­mally takes ded­i­ca­tion and it’s a long term per­fec­tion art that is sci­ence based but it’s no ex­cuse. Dis­tressed com­pa­nies fund We had funds but we have noth­ing to show for it. Let’s ask the re­cip­i­ents what tran­spired and what chal­lenges they faced be­cause lack of funds wasn’t one of them. At times it’s not the funds but per­haps the model used has passed the sale by date. Ed­u­ca­tional loans Th­ese have been utilised to sat­is­fac­tory lev­els. A lot of peo­ple ac­quired skills and com­pe­ten­cies that aid de­vel­op­ment for the bet­ter­ment of their com­mu­ni­ties. Stu­dent loans were not paid back and af­fected the oth­ers that came later. I do ap­pre­ci­ate those that lack fund­ing and gen­uinely de­serve. Are we not giv­ing the right­ful de­serv­ing sub­jects?? This seg­ment should be sta­tis­ti­cally low all things be­ing equal.

The num­bers are just in­signif­i­cant to write home about. Frankly, I don’t know what it is. In your sec­tor please ad­vise what the prob­lem is be­cause def­i­nitely this has noth­ing to do with fund­ing if at all the truth be told.

In any case whose re­spon­si­bil­ity is it to source funds on be­half of the above? Sole re­spon­si­bil­ity re­mains with those in need and those that have funds nor­mally had their terms and con­di­tions and when you sat­isfy them it’s happy days.

If th­ese are not favourable the need to en­gage and strike a bal­ance is en­cour­aged. Prob­a­bly you are not their tar­get mar­ket for funds just like you pro­duc­ing goods and ser­vices for a par­tic­u­lar mar­ket. If still in need and are pas­sion­ate about your craft/art, I say con­tinue to knock, knock, knock and one day the door of fund­ing will be opened for you but be­fore that hap­pens, al­ways be ready to be fer­tile ground for such elu­sive cap­i­tal.

As for me do not tell me some­thing about suc­cess sto­ries but show me suc­cess sto­ries and I will col­late the data against the pop­u­la­tion sta­tis­tics. Fig­ures never lie. It’s the cul­ture, stupid!!!




Morris Mpala is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Mob Cap­i­tal, a Bulawayo head­quar­tered mi­cro-fi­nance in­sti­tu­tion with foot­print across the coun­try.

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