By Tendai Mugabe
President Mnangagwa says his administration will reward talent and innovation in its drive to transform Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030 following the launch yesterday of Empower Bank. The bank, with seed money of US$12,5 million, is aimed at capacitating young entrepreneurs with loans to start business projects.
Speaking at the launch in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa urged the youth to repay loans advanced to them and to shun corruption.
He said the financial institution was another building brick towards a prosperous future for Zimbabwe.
President Mnangagwa said his administration would not brook corruption in the structures of the new financial institution and urged youths to repay loans extended to them.
The launch of Empower Bank comes a week after the President officially opened the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro Finance Bank which will provide loans to women and other small-scale businesses.
“The timely opening of this bank indeed confirms our resolve to attain the goals we have set for ourselves in vision 2030, which in itself will benefit the young people of today, for posterity,” he said.
“Our universities, colleges and vocational training centres churn out thousands of graduates yearly with a variety of skills and competencies.
“I thus challenge all stakeholders to tap into and properly marshal these skills for modernisation and industrialisation of our economy, creation of decent jobs, broad-based empowerment and poverty alleviation,” he said.
“To that end, it is my considered view that the commercialisation of ideas and innovations emerging from incubation hubs within our institutions of higher learning and other start-up initiatives will be realised through this bank. I equally exhort the bank to closely develop and support industry value chains at all levels of society in our quest to develop and support industry value chains at all levels of society in our quest to develop rural industry systems and distinct provincial economies.”
President Mnangagwa said the success of Empower Bank would be measured in terms of the quantum of economic value created by its target market.
On graft, the President said: “Corruption of any kind and form, at whatever level, will not be tolerated. The youths and other beneficiaries of the bank’s packages must be honest, straight forward and responsible and pay back loans advanced to them, bhadharai zvikwereti, bhadhalani izikwelede. I am thus optimistic that this institution will, in the long-term birth top entrepreneurs, millionaires and multi-millionaires of tomorrow.”
President Mnangagwa said the country’s biggest demographic population were the youths and Empower Bank should play its role in integrating them in society.
“It is envisaged that this financial institution will mitigate the limited access to credit finance, which for a long time has been an impediment to youth empowerment and emancipation,” he said.
President Mnangagwa urged Empower Bank to devise new, unique, responsive, flexible and innovative banking products that accommodate the realities of the current and future economic thrust of Zimbabwe.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr John Mangudya, who also attended the launch of the bank, said Zimbabwe was a land of many opportunities and the bank should be used as a conduit to eradicate poverty in the country.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kazembe Kazembe, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda attended the launch.