Over the years I have always heard mentions of the Affirmative Action Group. Most of you probably have heard the same experience but not knowing what it is all about. For the benefit of the likes of you, this article will cover all you need to know about the Affirmative Action Group. I will look at what AAG is all about and will also highlight how one can join the AAG. Before I get into more detail, defining affirmative action is a necessary starting point.
Defining Affirmative Action
Affirmative action is a policy or program providing advantages for people of a minority group, who are seen to have traditionally been discriminated against. The aim is to create a more egalitarian society through preferential access to education, employment, health care, social welfare, and the like. By egalitarian society, I am referring to a society that is premised on social equality and equal rights. This makes it apparent what the core focus of the AAG is.
History Of The Affirmative Action Group Zimbabwe
The AAG was started in 1994 as a brainchild of Philip Chiyangwa and Peter Pamire. Philip Chiyangwa was the founding President of the AAG. This was borne out of their desire to see the enactment of policies that promote local businesses. At the time it is abundantly clear that policies favoured foreigners more than black locals. In essence, the AAG is an advocacy group that champions economic empowerment, particularly the youth.
There has been chatter over the years about how the AAG is a front for people serving personal interests. Well, the AAG maintain that they do not serve personal interests and neither do they endorse or campaign for political candidatures. Rather AAG says its thrust is mainly focused on tackling systemic and structural discrimination.
Over the years, the AAG has been hailed for having led to some significant changes in the business sector. These are changes that have created a more conducive operating environment for local entrepreneurs and business people. Many locally black-owned enterprises have the AAG to thank given their advocacy work over the years. Many notable changes e.g. the coming of the indigenization policy were a result of pressure and pushes from the AAG. AAG’s work contributed immensely to local enterprises and government arms also instituting affirmative action.
Some of the notable business personalities to have emerged thanks to efforts by the AAG are Philip Chiyangwa, Mike Pamire, James Makamba, Strive Masiyiwa, Shingi Mutasa, Supa Mandiwanzira, Frank Buyanga, Esau Mupfumi, Roger Boka (the late), Dr Keith Guzah (the late) and Tendai Savanhu (the late), just to mention a few.
Core Focuses Of The AAG
Over the years there have been minority groups that have been disadvantaged when it comes to social equality. There have been discriminatory practices against certain groups. This has largely led to such groups having poor or zero representation in positions of influence. Leadership structures, professional circles, and academia have been some of the areas where such meagre representation is rampant.
Some of such groups that have historically been elbowed are young people, women, the differently-abled, small businesses, and many others. One of AAG’s central focuses has always been to ensure young people have a seat at the table. Thus one of the things the AAG has always fought for is for certain quotas to be adhered to. That is why now we see it possible for the female representation to be prioritized. Even in issues of governance, some women quotas are maintained. Even in some enterprises, hiring now includes certain quotas to ensure there is equal inclusion of women.
The AAG also works closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure financial or material support for certain disadvantaged groups. They work towards the rolling out of strategic scholarships and grants targeting such groups. The operational strategy of the AAG is usually to enter MOUs or partners with various entities. For example, earlier this year the AAG partnered with the Zimbabwe Congress of Students Union (ZICOSU). The partnership is aimed at rolling out empowerment initiatives especially for female students.
Recently Lovol International Construction Machinery Group introduced a US$20 million loan for equipment. This will be earmarked for Zimbabwean youths in agriculture and mining. Some of the equipment entailed here will be tractors, combine harvesters, irrigation, and solar equipment, amongst others. Lovol International Construction Machinery Group signed an MOU with Affirmative Action Group (AAG) for the rolling out of this loan facility.
You probably have heard about Empowerbank and Women Microfinance initiatives. These are all in conjunction with the AAG, the thrust being to bankroll women and youth income-generating projects in Zimbabwe.
Overview Of AAG’s Leadership And Chapters
Earlier this year Mike Chimombe took over from his predecessor, Chamu Chiwanza as President of The AAG. The popular socialite, Passion Java, came in as the Deputy President. The other three Deputy Presidents are Anastasia Ndhlovu (for minorities and women), Munyaradzi Kashambe (in charge of operations), and Mabutho Moyo. The Secretary-General is Clifford Hlupeko whilst the Treasurer General is Scott Sakupwanya. Head of Communications and Advocacy is Ari Goldenstein whereas Tafadzwa Musukume is Legal Advisor. So these are some of the top leaders of the AAG.
The top executive is 3-tier i.e. it is comprised of 3 categories namely the Presidium, the National Executive Council, and Provincial Chairpersons. AAG has structures (essentially chapters) in the country (every province) and the diaspora. In the diaspora, you have Africa, America/Canada, Australia/New Zealand, UK/Europe, and China/Asia.
If you are interested in joining and becoming a part of the Affirmative Action Group (AAG), kindly follow this link. You can check out the website for more details here. You can email them at email@example.com or you can call on +263242496306-7.