The Zimbabwe Business Network International (ZBNI), in partnership with ZimExpo, and the Zimbabwe Human Capital - Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education (ZHC-MoHTE), has commenced its Diaspora Engagement Tour of the USA.
The overall aim of the tour is to re-engage with skilled Zimbabweans in the diaspora (USA) and offer presentations on investment opportunities to those diasporeans who may have 'saving clubs' or other financial resources. In addition, members who join the ZBNI for an annual fee, will be provided with practical information via an online newsletter.
The Government-sponsored roadshow will covering 3 American cities in 12 days:
17 May - Washington DC (Conference and Business Dinner)
20 May - Atlanta, Georgia (Conference and Business Dinner)
23 May - Dallas, Texas (Business Dinner)
26 May - Dallas, Texas (Conference) to coincide with the last day of the ZimExpo
The ZimExpo will be held in Dallas from 23 to 26 May 2013 (see www.zimexpo.com and www.zimexpointernational.com) This year's event will feature entertainment including a Gospel music concert, Soccer tournament and a dance competition.
According the ZBNI Managing Director Mr E Mavindidze, the business conference tour will present dynamic one-day summit events to "inform, engage, and facilitate networking between skilled and professional Zimbabweans based in the USA, and Government, Human Resources Practitioners, Individual Companies, and organizations representing commerce and industry in Zimbabwe".
The ZBNI website (www.zimbabwebusinessnet.com) outlines the Conference schedule for each city as follows:
Each conference will be divided into two sessions. The first session will focus on investment opportunities in Zimbabwe presented within the framework of the following broad themes:
1. Presentations on investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, particularly in the Small to Medium Enterprises.
2. An overview on opportunities within Zimbabwe’s economic sectors such as mining, tourism, agriculture, etc.
3. An overview of Zimbabwe’s current economic environment with regards to investments.
Following the presentations, there will be a plenary discussion in which delegates will get to ask all investment related issues. Representatives from other ministries and private sector organizations will assist the presenters in answering the questions raised by the delegates.
The second session will be on employment opportunities focusing on the following employment related matters:
1. An overview of Zimbabwe’s current employment environment.
2. A presentation of Zimbabwe’s salaries survey for the year 2012.
3. A synopsis of employment opportunities within public and private organizations in Zimbabwe.
Following the presentations there will be a plenary session in which participants will be given an opportunity to ask all employment related matters to the various presenters.
The roadshow seminars will also constitute panels engaging Diaspora views on:
1. Skills mapping;
2. Short, medium and long-term initiatives through which diasporas can be engaged;
3. Consolidation of existing and possible platforms such as professional bodies, networks other organizations with sector specific focus such as health, education, etc.
An Important notice for people born in Zimbabwe whose parents were citizens of any SADC country at the time of their birth, and for all this time been denied the opportunity to vote on the grounds that they are "Aliens".
This applies to all Zimbabweans whose parents in most cases originated from neighboring countries such as Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana or South Africa, you may now proceed to swap your IDs at the Office of the Registrar General and obtain one with a "C" instead of an "A". (The 'A' prefix on your ID is for Alien, 'C' for Citizen)
This means that you may now enjoy all other rights including the right to vote same as any other citizen and taxpayer. This process of regularizing your ID's is being done for free during this period of preparing for Elections.
All previously disadvantaged individuals should take this opportunity and regularize their identity documents. Those who lost their IDs or Birth certificates can equally go and have them replaced for free during this period.
Please share this information with other colleagues or anyone you know who might not be able to see it in time. In case of any difficulties at the Office of the Registrar General please consult your local MP or Ward Councilor who must stand ready to assist you.
This comes about as a result of sections 36 and 43(2) of the new Constitution - the latter says everyone born in Zimbabwe prior to the "effective date" - i.e. the date of the new constitution, one of whose parents was a SADC citizen and who is resident in Zimbabwe at the time of the new Constitution (important qualification because those who are overseas now will not qualify) are entitled to citizenship. The new Constitution was adopted on 19 March 2013.
For many years, the issue of dual citizenship has been a subject of much discussion among the Zimbabwean diaspora. People who left their homeland and were offered citizenship of their new host country, together with the privileges and rights that go with such citizenship, were often grateful and accepted it. But in their hearts and their heritage, they remain Zimbabwean.
Now that there will soon be a national Referendum on Zimbabwe's new Draft Constitution, we note with interest that the dual citizenship question has been covered. In COPAC's very short summary of the main points covered in the document, it states that no Zimbabwean-born citizen shall be deprived of the right to Zimbabwean citizenship. But this may not necessarily cover those who obtained Zim citizenship through registration or through descent. Here is the text of the relevant Chapter in COPAC'S summary:
Citizenship (sections 35-43)
- Zimbabwean citizenship is by birth, descent or registration.
- All citizens are equally entitled to:
- protection by the State;
- to passports and other travel documents;
- birth certificates and other identity documents issued by the State.
- Citizens by birth are persons:
- who are born in Zimbabwe by a mother or a father who was a Zimbabwean citizen or any of their grandparents was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent; or
- who, if born outside Zimbabwe, either of their parents was a Zimbabwean citizen and ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe but working outside the country for the State or an international organisation; or
- who, when found in Zimbabwe,are children under the age of 15 years and their nationality and parents are unknown;
- who were born in Zimbabwe before the coming into force of this Constitution and one or both their parents was a citizen of a country which is a member of the Southern African Development Community and was ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe.
- Citizens by descent are persons born outside Zimbabwe of either a mother or father who was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent or any of their grandparents was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or descent and their birth is registered in Zimbabwe.
- Citizens by registration are persons who, on application, have been granted Zimbabwean citizenship.
- Dual citizenship is automatically permitted in respect of Zimbabweans by birth.
- A law may prohibit dual citizenship in respect of citizens by descent or registration.
- Citizenship by birth may be revoked if it was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact.
- Citizenship by registration may be revoked if it was acquired by fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact or if during a war the person concerned unlawfully trades, communicates or associates with a business that assisted an enemy of Zimbabwe in that war.
- Citizenship may not be revoked if the person concerned would become stateless.
- A Citizenship and Immigration Board must be established by Parliament to deal with matters of citizenship and work permits.
Zimbabweans excel all over the world in various fields of academic and professional endeavour - one hopes that at some point, each one of these individuals will come back home to help develop our nation. Article by Peter Mudzi in Washington DCContinue reading
By Vince Musewe
04 July 2012
The 10 or more things I love about Zimbabwe: When Zimbabwe gets it right and opens up, you are going to wish you were here
It's in the middle of winter in Harare, and the temperature is above 20 degrees Celsius outside. No need to wear heavy clothing or drink loads of coffee just to keep warm. It only gets chilly early mornings or early evenings and that is when the fire places crackle accompanied by laughter and warm soup. That's one thing I love about Zimbabwe, its weather is awesome throughout the year and thank goodness no politician can change that.
I went to a makeshift church in the township the other day and you cannot help but feel the genuine welcome, kindness and warmth that ordinary folk have. They are humble, loving, kind and patient. I love the way they warmly greet each other and always laugh at themselves even when the power is off and there is no water. They always make a plan and life must go on. I am amazed at how one man has been allowed to single-handedly try to destroy my mother's church, the Anglican Church, but I know that our God is faithful and just. It hasn't worked anyway because the church is not the building.
I love the GMO-free food they eat, it is so wholesome. Most Zimbabweans grow their own vegetables at home and now everyone eats free range chicken because it's cheaper than beef. It's roaring business now with everyone being in the chicken business. Homemade peanut butter is plenty and no one buys mealie meal from the supermarket because everyone has patch of mealies somewhere. It's a pity the "chefs" plunder the fertilizer when it comes, but Zimbos have become creative and will always make a plan.
I love the street vendors, so kind and willing to make a bargain on anything. Times are hard I guess but they always have a smile and change. Most are very educated and very articulate but they must battle it in the streets to make a living. So much for indigenization but they haven't lost hope at all. God bless them!
I love the peace and quiet, no child abuse cases, no rapes and hardly any violent crimes. The police don't even have to be armed but they are mean and you meet them almost every 10kms in the roads, I don't like that. You don't have to have high walls, alarms, armed response and any anxiety about crime in Zimbabwe. No road rage or cash heists. It's peaceful and you can sit back and relax. The holiday resorts are stunning and I just wish the politicians would sort their issues out so more tourists would come. The sooner they do that, the better for everyone.
Education is sacrosanct in Zimbabwe. You see, some kids travel long distances each day just to go to school, no excuses. In addition, almost every second person you meet is studying further on something or other. Despite the current hardships, people are looking forward to that day they will be free. Free from economic hardships and boring television. Free from low wages, unemployment, inconsistent electricity and the ridiculous prices of cell phone calls and imported basic goods. Monopolies suck.
I love the vast spaces in Harare suburbs. The yards are so huge and you can feel the fresh air on your face in the mornings. Not too much pollution is going on since industry is operating at low capacity. Did you know that the whites never allowed us blacks to be seen in the suburbs after 6pm and my father had to get a certificate to drink whiskey? That was mean hey and I guess some among us will never forgive them for that. I appreciate where they are coming from.
The farms are just so huge and some of them even have secret gold or diamond mines that nobody else knew about. It's never fair to take something away from others forcefully, but I wish whites in Zims had been willing to share some of the best land with us from the beginning; we would not have had this land issue haunting us even to this today and everyone would be happy. I am sure they will come back anyway, some have already done so, but at least this time they will respect our needs too.
I love the fact that Zimbabwe now uses the US dollar. Although it is rather undervalued, a loaf bread cost one dollar so do most basic goods otherwise you would end up with bubble gum for change. The beauty about the US dollar is the fact Reserve Bank can no longer print worthless money on impulse and cause hardships through hyperinflation .You can also now transfer money in and out of the country with no hassle. The "externalization" of foreign currency is no longer treated as treason. Music to my ears.
I love the reading culture of Zimbabweans in general. The newspapers get sold out often, even the ones that haven't much to say and also those that are negative about everything. I have stopped reading them. There is however, such a shortage of decent book stores in Harare it's such a pity but everyone here is always reading something. The legend that if you want to hide something from a black you put it in a book does not work in Zims. Thanks to ZANU(PF) policy of free education for all immediately after independence, that's one thing they got right.
I love, for once; to hear deep Shona spoken and the modern Shona slang will leave you in stitches. The now popular Shona rap music is so creative! Our Shona language is so concise, deep with such meaning and humor unfortunately most Zimbos, especially the younger generation, think it is so cool to speak English with an American accent and wear hip hop clothes. Even the radio announcers here think they are in America. Hmmm, I guess they will need some political education about imperialism and its ills.
Finally I love the investment opportunities everywhere. All we need is a bit of cash and everyone will be scrambling for a piece of the action. Those in the Diaspora will come back soon I am sure and for once, we will get better service, better prices and more competition in business. Companies here are a bit complacent when it comes to offering good value for money and good customer service. New companies will surely clean up if they are smart.
One last good thing is that almost every Zimbo owns an asset you know, the cars they drive are paid for, most own fully paid for homes and they hate debt and no longer trust the indigenous banks with their money. That's a sad story. Almost everyone is building a property somewhere and owns a piece of land somewhere. Land is the economy, the economy is land! Mugabe is right. The beauty here is that Zimbabweans have no high personal debt like in Mzansi and that is something good that has come out of the economic hardship. If only we could all focus on the good that has come out of our past and move on!
The irony of this all is that Mugabe is right on the issue of the need to empower Zimbabweans and Tsvangirai is right to insist on the need for democracy. An empowered and democratic Zimbabwe is all we want. Our land and its people are beautiful so gentlemen let's put aside our "differences" and let's make it happen.
Mark my sober words, when Zimbabwe gets this right and opens up, you are going to wish you were here!
Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare. You may contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Returning residents may bring in specified goods duty free - (reproduced from ZIMRA website www.zimra.co.za)
Did you know that household and personal effects and other goods for personal use that are imported by qualifying individuals (but not companies) can qualify for a rebate of duty and import Value Added Tax (VAT) in terms of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02] as read with Section 105 of the General Regulations, and Section 12 (3) of the Value Added Tax Act [Chapter 23:12]?Goods imported for commercial or trade purposes do not qualify for a rebate under these provisions.
Who qualifies for the immigrant’s rebate?
The rebate is granted to an individual who comes to Zimbabwe:-
- To take up employment or permanent residence; or
- As a visitor but remains to take up employment or permanent residence; or
- As a diplomat but remains to take up employment or permanent residence or to attend any educational institution; or
- For the purposes of attending any educational institution.
In the circumstances mentioned above, spouses of such persons are included. However, any person who has previously resided or has been employed in Zimbabwe and who has been outside Zimbabwe for less than two years is excluded.
The person requesting for the rebate will be required to attend an interview at the Customs port through which the goods are being imported and will also be required to complete a questionnaire.
What documents does one need to submit to be considered for the immigrants rebate?
- Employment record or residence permit
- Proof that one has completed such studies - for a person who has been pursuing studies
- Proof that one has terminated such contract - for a person who has been on a contract of employment
- Proof of such absence from Zimbabwe - for a person who has been on an extended absence from Zimbabwe
- A certificate stating that such effects and other goods were owned by him/her at the time of his/her arrival and at their time of importation
- In the case of a motor vehicle, a certificate stating that a rebate has not been granted to him/her in respect of a motor vehicle during the previous four years
- A certificate that such effects and other goods are intended for his/her own use in Zimbabwe and will not be used for trade or commercial purposes
- A written undertaking that such effects and other goods will not be sold or disposed of in any manner and that he/she shall not leave Zimbabwe for a period of more than six months within 24 months of arrival as stated below (conditions after importing)
- A written undertaking to pay such duty as may become due if he/she decides to sell or dispose of in any manner or if he/she decides to leave Zimbabwe for a period of more than six months within 24 months of arrival as stated below (conditions after importing)
- Satisfactory evidence relating to the acquisition, ownership or purchase of the goods as may be required by the Commissioner.
What kind of goods can be imported under the Immigrant’s rebate?
An immigrant can import duty free;
- Personal and household effects such as clothing, linen and furniture.
- Motor vehicles limited to one vehicle per individual.
- No person under the age of 16 is allowed to import a vehicle under this rebate.
- Motor vehicles designed to transport 15 or more people including the driver and vehicles whose gross vehicle weight exceeds five tonnes are also excluded from this rebate.
Conditions to be met at the time of importation
- The goods should have been owned by the immigrant at the time of his/her arrival and at the time of their importation.
- The goods must also be in physical existence and fully paid for by the immigrant before the time of his/her arrival.
Time of arrival
- For an immigrant coming for his first time to Zimbabwe, the time of arrival is the first occasion on which he/she enters Zimbabwe after the grant of his/her employment permit or resident permit.
- If the immigrant does not depart from Zimbabwe after the grant of his/her permit, the time of arrival is the first occasion he/she imports personal goods or a personal vehicle within three months from the date of grant of the permit.
For an immigrant who has previously resided or has been employed in Zimbabwe and who:-
- has been on a course of study, the time of arrival is the first occasion on which he/she returns to Zimbabwe after successfully completing such course of study; or
- has been on contract of employment, the first occasion on which he/she returns to Zimbabwe after the expiry of such contract; or
- has been on an extended absence for any other reason, the first occasion on which he/she returns to Zimbabwe:
Time of arrival for a former resident who enters Zimbabwe as a visitor and does not depart from Zimbabwe shall be deemed to be the first occasion on which he/she imports any personal and household effects and other goods within three months from the grant of his/her permanent returning resident status.
For a former diplomat who remains in Zimbabwe to take up employment or permanent residence, his/her time of arrival is the first occasion he/she imports any personal and household effects and other goods within three months from the date of grant of his new employment permit or residence permit.
Please note that in all cases stated above, if the immigrant fails to import within the stipulated three months’ period, any goods purchased and imported after three months would not qualify.
Conditions after Importing
The immigrant shall not sell or dispose of in any manner or display for sale goods in respect of which such rebate was granted within 24 months after the date of being granted such rebate unless:-
- Written permission is granted by the Commissioner General of ZIMRA, and
- The duty which would have been payable at the time of granting the rebate is paid
- An immigrant who has been granted a rebate of duty who emigrates or departs from Zimbabwe for a period of more than six (6) months within 24 months from the date the rebate was granted shall remove the goods from Zimbabwe on his departure, unless:-
- Prior written permission is granted by the Commissioner to leave the effects or such other goods in Zimbabwe
- The duty which would have been payable at the time of granting the rebate is paid
NB: Any violation of the conditions above makes the goods liable to seizure. Misuse or attempts to misuse the provision on rebates is an offence in terms of section 174 and 184(g) of the Customs and Excise Act [Chapter 23:02] and can result in prosecution or penalties or seizure of the goods.