Following the incessant brain drain over the years, gaps in managerial, professional and technical capacity pervade all sectors – public, private and non-governmental organizations – and spheres of life. Capacity building support programs would include learning exchanges between diaspora Institutions and in-country institutions that require professional strengthening; use made of sabbatical, attachments type of arrangements as well as pairing of institutions. Turning the ‘brain drain’, into ‘brain gain’ is one of the challenges that ZDNNA has undertaken to confront by leading efforts to organize the Diaspora to participate in building the capacity of the Home front institutions through:
- Use of ICT to promote technology transfer;
- Training programs to promote empowerment and re-integration;
- Promotion of development of low cost solutions for rural development projects for the poor;
- Attachments and secondments;
- Promoting cross Board memberships;
- Setting up of mechanisms for structured communication between the government and state institutions, non-state actors, private sector and the public at large;
- mechanisms for structured communication between the government and state institutions, non-state actors, private sector and the public at large.
The Diaspora has been supporting organizations that help disadvantaged people such as orphans, the sick, HIV/AIDs affected and infected people, the elderly and homeless. Support and philanthropic programs would include:
- learning exchanges between diaspora organizations and in-country organizations especially non-governmental and not-for-profit ones some of which may require professional strengthening;
- use made of sabbatical attachments type of arrangements as well as pairing of organizations and institutions, scholarships and sponsorships of locally qualified graduates.
In the case of donations – material, in-kind and financial – Home-front should:
- facilitate de-regulation that restricts movement of donations to disadvantaged groups, and more
- promote sharing of experiences among sectors that have processed support provided to the Home-front among the sector ministries, e.g. in health sector from ZIMHEALTH, in education university exchanges, and books;
What is key for investment is for the Diaspora and home-front to find foreign partners that are a good fit, which is somewhat challenging because investment choices are more individualistic, with the end product resulting from intensive exchanges which are often of a confidential nature and require certain levels of Trust. Forming adequate resource pools to have viable and serious business offers requires more intense planning and levels of detail that work ‘off-the platform’.
ZDNNA will not make investment decisions for individuals; it will facilitate them by making information available where possible. ZDNNA will provide a platform on which to organize and make available investment information emanating from the Home front deemed important for the Diaspora. The ZDNNA website will make information on opportunities and contracts available for everybody to participate in:
- Government and local authority procurement contracts
- Private placements on the Stock Exchange
- Bond issues by the Reserve Bank and other Financial Institutions
- Joint Ventures
- Pooled financing and crowd sourcing ventures
We believe that transparency is another way of fighting corruption.
Diaspora surveys site lack of ‘Trust’ as a major hindrance to Diaspora, Home-front, and within Home-front relations and collaboration for development in Zimbabwe.
Promoting synergies is going to be very important in the fight to develop and improve ‘trust’ between Diaspora and the Zimbabwe State and Non-State actors and between the Home-front actors.
Virtual Think Tanks are now accepted platforms for real time knowledge and practice exchanges. Zimbabwean professionals have invaluable experiences across the globe, tapping into that expertise would facilitate the country to leapfrog technologically as well as harvest from the knowledge that the Diaspora would bring to the table. Appropriateness, acceptance, and relevance of the knowledge and ideas and ability to transform that into bankable projects and transferable skills for increased productivity, would be the determinants of the level of success of the Initiative.
Exchanges would include:
- Knowledge of market behaviors that could be shard in real time in support of new investments;
- Reviews of strategy notes and sector plans in the public sector as well as business plans and practices in the private sector;
- Science and technology advances, etc.
Zimbabwe lost 50% of its professionals to the diaspora making it one of the top five biggest contributors to the foreign skills pool. However, nobody knows where these skilled people are located and the details of their qualifications and experience. ZDNNA advocates for Zimbabwe professionals to self – register on a skills locator platform, form technical Chapters, and come together and bid for professional services back home. ZDNNA further advocates that the Diaspora be given preference ahead of foreign companies in contract awards back home based on proven capacity to deliver in a wide range of areas such as health, education, IT, business finance, construction engineering and procurement services.
As a platform, ZDNNA’s skills database would be an essential business and exchange
marketplace and service that seeks to pool information on, advocate for promotion and recognition of, an essential business and exchange
marketplace and service, Diaspora skills through pushing government and other organizations to:
- Support efforts for the Diaspora professionals to self register
- Recruit back skilled diaspora into technical positions and management
- introduce a quota system for external and international funded consultancy services to be reserved to qualified Zimbabwe experts.
- Avoid notions of exclusion while taking care to guard veracity of the information on the ZDNNA platform;
- Pre-verify people information regarding qualifications, at least from the information source whilst taking care not to purport to be ‘brokers’ is important because of strict regulations in the UK and USA, etc;