On July 11 2012, a round table for Zimbabweans was held in Washington D.C. The round table was organized on the recommendation of a meeting held on the back of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) sponsored “Rethinking Zimbabwe” workshop that took place on July 10, 2012 and was attended by several senior Zimbabwe government and private sector officials.
The objective of the Roundtable was to exchange ideas aimed at promoting ‘convergence’ in the dialogue on Zimbabwe in order to promote economic growth and development through improved investment and livelihoods of the people of Zimbabwe.
The meeting agreed to the following:
- Seek agreement on a concrete course of action for the Diaspora to actively engage government and state institutions, individuals and communities, private sector, non-state actors and multilateral and bilateral institutions towards those objectives;
- Challenge the Diaspora to set up mechanisms for structured communication between the government and state institutions, non-state actors, private sector and the public at large;
- Put in place mechanisms that leverage the productive use of human and financial resources that the Diaspora have in abundance and Zimbabwe needs desperately;
- Invite the diaspora to find and define options for addressing managerial, professional and technical inadequacies and capacity gaps in the public and private sectors and table them for home actors to consider; and
- Set up the platform and timetable for incubation and propagation of the agreed priority areas and mechanisms for transmitting them to the various stakeholders.
- Ibbo Mandaza and Norbert Mugwagwa to be the focal persons for coordinating follow-up efforts to build on the agreed actions for collaboration.
Five priority areas were identified and adopted:
- Develop a diaspora skills locator and skills database;
- Establish a knowledge exchange platform and ‘think tanks’;
- Set up and utilize investment vehicles;
- Promote and participate in philanthropy and support programs; and
- Build capacity in the public and private sectors.
Establishing a Working Group
The meeting of July 10, 2012 appointed the two coordinators for the home front and Diaspora and empowered them to move the agenda forward with the support of a Working Group comprising of the meeting participants. In addition, the Diaspora would form a unit, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Network North America (ZDNNA), that would undertake activities per the agreed priority areas and as elaborated by the coordinators. A plan of actions was articulated and a timeline proposed and endorsed. The Zimbabwe Diaspora Home Interface Project (ZIDHIP) framework and organization as proposed was adopted as the umbrella organization.