There was a recent survey that was conducted through a collaboration between The Financial Gazette and Old Mutual Zimbabwe. The awards ceremony was held live on Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s Facebook and YouTube pages. This event occurred on the 17th of September. In this article, I will go through what transpired during the event – noteworthy highlights. I will then cover the actual awards pointing out who won.

Key Takeaways

Opening Remarks Highlights

Opening remarks were given by Lilian, the Old Mutual Group Marketing and Innovation Executive. She started by quoting Albert Einstein, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” She gave reference to how the COVID-19 pandemic affected many of us, especially businesses. She emphasized the need for businesses to focus more on how to readjust given the new norm. She mentioned the adage, “with any challenge there is an opportunity” as something businesses must embrace in their dealings. She pointed out that crisis must be an opportunity to be opened up to new ways of doing things. She appreciated businesses that have already adjusted to the new norm and have continued to deliver value and convenience to their customers. She also gave assurances on how Old Mutual will continue to support businesses and contribute to the growth of the Zimbabwean economy.

Remarks By Financial Gazette CEO – Pilate Machado

He started by recognising and acknowledging all the key stakeholders involved in making the event a success. He mentioned that this year’s theme is “Working towards an open, stable and inclusive economy”. He highlighted that the theme was strategic given Zimbabwe’s quest to be re-integrated into the international community. The Top Companies Survey has been running for a while now, this year being the 7th consecutive year. This is something he also made mention of as he appreciated Old Mutual for sponsoring the event consistently for these years.

Remarks By Old Mutual Group CEO – Samuel Matsekete

He said profitability and growth have been heavily affected by most businesses. How to deal with that has been the main thrust of businesses nowadays. The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word crisis, one brush stroke stands for danger, and the other stands for opportunity. This is something J.F. Kennedy once said and Mr Matsekete made reference to that. In a crisis we must be careful of the dangers whilst looking out for opportunities – this was the central theme in his message. Old Mutual has served the Zimbabwean market for over 100 years; another notable thing that he mentioned. He also pointed out that customers are constantly evolving something Old Mutual is acutely aware of (something businesses should do). Customers are no longer bound by geographical boundaries, another key thing businesses must take heed of.

Remarks By Professor Mandivamba Rukuni – Co-Director African Negotiation Lab

Professor Rukuni was the guest of honour at the event. He themed his message as, “Industrial Upgrading for Zimbabwe”. He highlighted that COVID-19 must be a wake-up call for Zimbabwe to rebuild its industrial and food systems. He emphasised on the need for us as a nation to build self-reliance and start from the basics (stage one). He said something pertinent and I quote, “the premise of my talk is that we should not rebuild the old industrial system. We must build a new, re-imagined one”. He said it is no wonder why he mentioned, “upgrading” as opposed to “substitution” by just bringing in a few foreign investors.

He said we must start by looking at proto-industries (commonly referred to as the informal sector here in Zimbabwe). Proto-industries simply refer to manufacturing without factories. Products produced end up as global products. In essence, it has to start from the villages, our growth points, small towns, and so on. Manufacturing has to start at that local level. As these proto-industries grow it will lead to light industries. Light industries deal with areas like textiles, leatherware, food processing, and so on. The subsequent growth of light industries is what will lead to a surge in demand for heavy industrial products (steel, energy and the like). This will entail rebuilding the whole process not just substituting it by bringing machines from elsewhere.

He also talked about something very interesting regarding the market. He said that the market is not God-given per se but rather it is what you build your public policy around. He also said that we have to mass-produce raw materials and mass process them at a local level. Then he said we also have to mass consume most of the products ourselves at a local level. He pointed out that development is about people – them having the capacity to imagine this industrial upgrading process. People in the village must be able to imagine it; they need to be helped to imagine it. People must dream, create, and innovate for themselves. This whole process, if rolled out well can take less than 10 years to achieve marked results.

The Awards Ceremony

The Brand Executive at Financial Gazette, Kerina Chizemo helped in officially handing out the awards. I will just list the categories and the respective winners.

Disclosure And Investor Relations

Delta Corporation

Tangible Investor Returns

African Sun

Non-Life Insurance

Zimnat Insurance

Life Assurance

Econet Life

Environmental Social Governance Practices

Padenga Holdings

Banking

Ecobank

Special Mention Award

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

Top Company

Winner: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe

First Runner-up: Delta Corporation

Second Runner-up: OK Zimbabwe

That is about it concerning the top companies survey 2020. You can kindly comment below with your thoughts on those who won. For one, I think it is interesting that Econet stole the show. What do you think? Is Econet Wireless Zimbabwe the best company in Zimbabwe at the moment?