By Kenneth Matimaire
MUTARE — Government has embarked on a national branding exercise, with six key pillars expected to improve the battered image of the country, Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi, has said.
Mzembi said the branding exercise would target the tourism sector, exports, immigration and investment, arts, culture and heritage, governance and people.
“We are undergoing an exercise to have what we call nation branding, an exercise whereby we build the image of the country, how we see ourselves and how others view us. To achieve this, we have identified six critical pillars that are essential to this exercise. These six areas have now come to be referred to as the six pillars of the country’s hexagon,” Mzembi told a stakeholders’ workshop in which he was represented by permanent secretary, Thokozile Chitepo.
He said they had taken a leaf from countries such as Rwanda that managed to re-build their image after undergoing catastrophic experiences. “We are not the first country to take this initiative. So we are taking a leaf from other countries that pursued national branding. We are building on what other countries have built and Rwanda is a good example.
They went through genocide but have managed to build from that,” he said. He said that Zimbabwe should become a preferred tourist destination and favourable place to relocate. The country should also be able to export its home grown brands as well as a sound governance system and populace.
Zimbabwe’s image has been battered by corruption and is viewed as a high risk investment destination owing to a host of issues, including policy inconsistencies and an unfriendly foreign investment regime. Obediah Mazombwe, the director of nation branding in Mzembi’s Ministry, said they would set up provincial committees to steer nation branding before the Office of the President and Cabinet establishes an apex body. Manicaland is the second province to host the meeting after Mashonaland Central.