A few weeks ago I wrote about the ambition plan the ZSE had for training programs to help people understand trading on the exchange. This combined with new products such as Exchange-traded funds and Real Estate Investment Trusts signal a bit of a turning point in the ZSE philosophy towards investment but more on that later. Talk has been followed up with action as they launched their new website dedicated to training programs and updates.

www.zsetraining.co.zw offers full updates on their course schedule as well as some free online courses. This is in line with the pronouncements made by ZSE chief Justin Bgoni earlier. Currently available on the website is a course titled “Investing 101”. Other courses listed are “Understanding the ZSE ATS”, “ZSE listing process” and “AI and trading patterns” though not yet available you can make a booking for these courses. The page also has a handy list of their upcoming in-person training events. I tried to access the Investing 101 course to audit it but was met with an error message. Which hopefully really is temporary as they say.

Something has always baffled me about the approach to Zimbabwean capital markets. The multi-currency era, 2009 -2019 saw a great focus on attracting foreign investors into the country and to the ZSE. Yes, Foreign Direct Investment and all but I always wondered what made the money coming from outside Zimbabwe more valuable than the money in Zimbabwe? I’m not bashing FDI, we do need it. However, Zimbabwe at the time used US dollars and other foreign currencies. So how was my US dollar less important to the ZSE than a foreign-sourced one? I’ve heard all the arguments about attracting new money to which I simply say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

The shift towards aggressively pursuing local investment is a welcome sight to see. Even when using mortgage finance to purchase a house, some degree of personal investment is required via deposit. For the longest time Zimbabwe has tried to kick start local investment needs with foreign investors and it seems the message has been received, nobody is coming. I’ve been critical of many of our plans which seem to be targeted at foreign investors when there are clearly both free funds (not in the foreign currency sense but in general) and an appetite for investment among the people. This action should hopefully mark new territory in the approach to domestic investment.